Five GOP Freshmen: Here's What We've Learned

Thursday, 05 Apr 2012 02:45 PM

By Dan Weil

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The next focus for the 87 freshmen GOP House members is their own re-election. Politico chatted with five of the top rookies about all things politics and policy. Here are snippets of what they said.

New York Rep. Michael Grimm:
He came into Congress with grand expectations, but has suffered from accusations of scandal. “There have been some great times where you really feel like you are part of a solution, and then some very frustrating times where the bureaucracy is just so difficult to overcome that you sometimes wonder if you are going backward or forward,” Grimm said.

North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers:
She quickly became a favorite of House leaders. “I’m one to speak my mind, and over time, I have been able to establish that,” she said. “I don’t speak on every issue; not every issue is my issue. ... I wish more of [the] members would follow that.”

New York Rep. Nan Hayworth:
While she has moderate views about climate change and abortion, New York tea party Republicans have backed her. “I appreciate the support I got from tea party groups because we share a reverence for the Constitution and what it represents,” she said.

Florida Rep. Allen West:
This feisty freshman has earned a lot of attention for his strong, forthright rhetoric. “I tell my constituents the truth. I’m a very transparent guy. Just as when I was a commander [in the Army], I worked for those soldiers. I work for my constituents, so they know everything I’m doing and they know everything about me.”

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert:
Unlike many GOP freshmen, he already had substantial experience in politics, having served in Arizona’s state Legislature from 1991 to 1995. “Congress is my legislature on steroids,” Schweikert said. “The 112th Congress has been a wild ride. ... I’m actually a little heartbroken we haven’t been able to get more done.”


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