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Freshman House Republican Starts Out On Top

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Freshman House Republican Starts Out On Top


Freshman House Republican Starts Out On Top

Freshman House Republican Starts Out On Top

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

House Republicans have a 49-seat advantage in this new Congress, and we're joined by one of their freshman members. Host Scott Simon talks with newly elected Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan's 2nd District. Huizenga will serve on the House Financial Services Committee.


We caught up with two new lawmakers who cast their votes next week, one Republican, one Democrat.

First, Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga. He has a background in small business, and just this week he was sworn in to represent Michigan's 2nd Congressional District. We reached him yesterday at his new office at the Capitol.

Congressman Huizenga, thanks very much for being with us.

Representative BILL HUIZENGA (Republican, Michigan): Scott, my pleasure.

SIMON: Explain to me what's behind the idea that the number one priority apparently now seems to be reversing health care overhaul.

Rep. HUIZENGA: Well, I think that this is about fulfilling campaign promises. I think that if we don't move ahead with this - we being the Republican House of Representatives - because a number of people have brought up, well, isn't this really an exercise in futility, the Senate's really not going to pass it, Obama's not going to pass it.

But if we don't do this, the people that elected us are going to say, hey, there they go again. They said they were going to do one thing and they're not doing it.

SIMON: Does it have anything to do with job creation?

Rep. HUIZENGA: Oh, absolutely. The feedback that I get from whether it's big businesses - and I have a lot of Tier 1, Tier 2 automotive suppliers and office furniture manufacturers, and some heavy manufacturers, but also a lot of small businesses in my district in Western Michigan, and they're talking about the premium increases that they're getting from their insurance companies just because of this bill.

So I do believe that that's another step, is putting it back into the hands of us as consumers.

SIMON: I have an impression that a lot of members of your freshman class are not lawyers or career politicians, but come from other careers. Does that seem to be the case?

Rep. HUIZENGA: You know, it's a real mix, actually. We've got a number of people, myself, for example - I had been the district director for a congressman for six years before I was elected to the state legislature, all while owning a small business - a small family business. There's a number of people that have had both a private sector as well as a public sector aspect to their lives, and I think that's what makes it maybe a little unique, kind of like myself, coming in with a foot firmly planted in both worlds.

(Soundbite of buzzer)

Rep. HUIZENGA: The - sorry, that a voting buzzer going off in the background, so I've got 10 minutes before I have to literally run across to the Capitol.

SIMON: All right. Well, we'll just take a couple more minutes. You weren't elected to talk to us.

Rep. HUIZENGA: That's exactly right. I'm not - as much as it enjoyable, I do need to make sure that the people of the 2nd District are earning their - you know, I'm earning my keep, so...

SIMON: If there's one thing you really want to do over the next year, what is it?

Rep. HUIZENGA: We have to create an atmosphere for private job expansion. You know, the private sector creates prosperity, the public sector doesn't. And we've got to create an atmosphere that's going to allow the private sector to go out and be successful, to add those jobs, and that's then tied into, I think, the other things that's extremely important, which is the debt and the deficit. You know, our spending has got to has got to come in line with what our revenues are, and that's really my focus.

SIMON: Bill Huizenga represents Michigan's 2nd District. We will mention, you've got a vote to make. We're recording this on a Friday. You have a vote to make so we'll let you do the business you were elected to do rather than talk to us. But we hope to talk to you again. Thank you, Congressman.

Rep. HUIZENGA: I appreciate it, Scott. Have a great day.

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