April 26, 2013
The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Republic

This is your second stint in the House. What surprised you?

I found the source of global warming is coming from the hot air coming out of Washington.

What hasn’t changed?

The buildings, my Congressional pin and familiar faces. Our debates on policy have not really changed — still focused on government spending and reducing the size of government, which has changed for the worse.

My committee assignments have not changed. I am a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

During the last recess, you appeared at an event with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, with whom you have little in common. What was the message?

Fashion. Just kidding. Bringing jobs to Arizona through trade.

As chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, I am committed to searching for ways to bolster our trade opportunities for Arizona businesses. Arizona’s top two export destinations are Mexico and Canada, totaling $6.23 billion and $2.16 billion.

Much is made about the polarization of Washington. Is it a problem?

Yes, it has been a stark difference I’ve noticed. Everyone challenges each other’s motives. The Arizona delegation has been fantastic to have what I’ll call the “Breakfast Club Without Teenage Angst,” where we get together to discuss issues pertaining to Arizona, and give each other a hard time, like how many pairs of glasses Kyrsten Sinema has.

Will the House and Senate be able to compromise on a budget?

Hope springs eternal, but we need to. After multiple continuing resolutions and over four years without both a House and Senate passed and reconciled bill, it is imperative.

What do you think of the immigration bill by the “Gang of Eight”?

My mom told me to stay away from gangs. But if you’re asking me about immigration reform, it must accomplish two objectives:

Border security must be first, and it must be more than a promise.

We have to import workers, not welfare. Anyone who wants to work should, and they should pay taxes, but I don’t support amnesty.

It’s an issue of fairness.

With your committee assignments, what issues are priorities?

As chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, my priorities are exploring ways to achieve energy independence in our hemisphere, expanding trade opportunities around the globe and ensuring Americans are safe around the world, whether serving our country or securing our borders.

Through the Committee on Education and the Workforce, we need to ensure we are educating a future generation to achieve a workforce for the 21st century. I believe the best education solutions come from those closest to the students: state and local entities.

What are you reading these days?

Stacks of letters from my constituents with their feedback and many e-mails from my staff. I just finished reading “The Last Outlaws” by Thom Hatch, which is about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

I also just finished “Clutch” by New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan and am in the middle of “From Beirut to Jerusalem” by Thomas Friedman.

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