tv 116th Freshmen Profile - Reps. Taylor Sherrill Case CSPAN July 28, 2019 5:31pm-6:01pm EDT
state mike pompeo participates in a conversation on foreign policy at 9:00 a.m.. then, in the afternoon at 3:00, the u.s. senate returns for both on whether to override president trump's vetoes of three resolutions blocking u.s. arms sales to saudi arabia. announcer: the freshman class of the 116th congress is a highly diverse set of lawmakers made up of many firsts for the house and senate. c-span continues to learn more about these new faces with their one-on-one interviews. up next, lawmakers from texas, new jersey and hawaii, ben taylor representing the house district of texas is first. the congressman is a former state legislator and u.s. marine. >> you are a seventh generation texan. explain your family history. rep. taylor: my family came to texas in 1826 and they became mexican citizens.
in october of 1835, there was a letter sent to my family asking them to join the revolution. a copy of the letter is actually in my office here in washington, d.c. you can see them saying, the time to revolt is now. >> over the generations, what has your family done for a living? rep. taylor: i have been working in commercial real estate, oil and gas, farming, my family has a long history of texas with a lot of love for our state. i am very honored to represent the people of the third district of texas. >> who are your parents? rep. taylor: my father is an attorney and a businessman, my mother is a homemaker. i grew up in midland, texas and i was born in dallas. i live about 50 miles from where i was born, not too far from home.
i joined the marine corps, took a commission after i graduated from college, served on active duty for several years, continued to serve my country, got my mba from harvard business school, then i moved back to dallas where i was born. went into real estate, and i was in the marine reserve unit that was activated in 2003. >> where did this motivation to serve come from? rep. taylor: i have been very blessed in life. i have been given a lot of opportunities and made every effort to make the best of those opportunities. i want to make sure that my children, roy, helen, and suzy, that they have the same kind of opportunities i had, and that every child in america has the same opportunities that i had, in working to a better america. i certainly know that in my eight years of the texas legislature, prepared me to be
here at the united states congress. >> what values did your parents instill in you? rep. taylor: hard work. respect for others. patriotism. i try to live those out everyday and i tried to instill them in my own children. >> patriotism, is that something they talked about when you were growing up? rep. taylor: it is hard not to appreciate the incredible blessings of liberty we have. when you see how hard people work to come to this country than what they are able to make of themselves once they get here. we live in the greatest nation on earth and it is a true blessing to be an american. that is a blessing i was willing to fight for in the united states and in iraq, and one that i will continue to work for is a member of congress. being in iraq. you had some moments, and you have received awards for your service there. rep. taylor: i was activated in 2003.
i led a platoon of reconnaissance marines with the fourth of reconnaissance battalion, with a task force of 4500 marine. we were the very first platoon in iraq on march 21, 2003. we participated in the rescue of jessica lynch the first american pow of the iraq war. and i got to marry the girl who sent me a letter every day that i was there. i like to say, i am still walking into the sunset as the credits roll. >> you get a little teary talking about that. rep. taylor: yes, it was an emotional experience. combat is a deeply personal experience. your experience is different based on what you see and know at the time, your experience is different. it is very emotional, but this country again is what fighting for.
-- worth fighting for. i think i saw that in iraq, as i talked to iraqis who have been oppressed, they say, i am grateful for the opportunity to be free. it was a long road for them, in that freedom, and they are not quite there yet. is an amazing experience to liberate people. >> as you are walking around the halls of congress, how do you remember your service? rep. taylor: i remember my service, it is certainly a part of me. perhaps the greatest honor was leading men in combat. that is the greatest challenge there is. it certainly steadies me in my time in congress. the trials and tribulations i go through for an amendment or on the floor or discussion with the colic that does not go the right way. it is easy to put it in place area because nobody is going to die. you are not worried about surviving through the night. you are not worried about dying. you are not worried about the gunfire getting closer or further. it helps me to have a sense of calmness about what i am doing, because it is not nearly the stakes i had during combat.
>> in your service in the texas state house and the texas senate, what were some of your legislative priorities in those years? rep. taylor: in the texas legislature, i served four years in the house and four years in the senate. it was a privilege to represent the people of calhoun county. i passed 81 bills. everyone had bipartisan support. i worked on the very of issues. the first bill was a bill to help our men and women in uniform be able to vote from overseas. military voting increased 150% as a result of that bipartisan legislation. i worked on legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, worked to help people reenter society, who had been convicted of crimes, try to help them. worked on tax legislation, carried the most important
ethics package in texas, the governor's ethics package. worked on a wide variety of issues, but always on a bipartisan basis, always trying to find common sense solutions that people could agree on to remove my state forward. >> what about out here in washington? what committees are you on? rep. taylor: i am on the labor committee, and the education committee. i am also on the homeland committee. i am working on a bipartisan basis to try to find common sense solutions to address real problems affecting my constituents. it is a more challenging environment. it is harder to get things done here. it is a bigger chamber. but i am sitting down and building relationships to get things done. >> how do you define your political philosophy and who shaped that for you? rep. taylor: at the end of the day, i am a conservative. i believe government is too big, taxes are too much, i believe in individual liberty and freedom. i take my mission statement from the declaration of independence. i look at the second paragraph of the declaration of independence that says we hold these truths that all men are created with inalienable rights, and have the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. the purpose of government is to protect liberty. announcer: democrat mikey cheryl is the first democrat to represent the district and over 30 years. announcer: democrat mikie sherrill is a representative and a former navy pilot and federal prosecutor. rep. sherrill: i always remember wanting to be a pilot. my grandfather flew in world war ii. i'm proud of his service to our country. i wanted to follow in his footsteps. what i was in the fifth grade i sent my dad, i want to be a pilot grandpa. he said that is expensive. yet to go to the military. i said but i want to go to college too. so he suggested the service academies, and i said i would go to the naval academy. that was in fifth grade.
i'm sure he thought nothing of it, and he said i don't even know if they let women in. i said i will figure it out. that was the start of my focus on the naval academy. over the years, i went to the football games and stuff like that and then applied. >> and you got in and served. you graduated from flight school in the first class of women eligible for combat. rep. sherrill: i graduated from the academy when they lifted the combat restrictions on aviation and our surface combatants. what is so interesting about that is you now see both myself and elaine luria, who was in the academy at roughly the same time, in congress, and part of that is because we were able to compete in the navy, to the same standards as everyone else. >> what did you do? you went on to fly which helicopters, and were you in combat? rep. sherrill: i flew h3, and i was not in combat. i flew on and off ships throughout the arabian gulf. >> what missions did you fly? rep. sherrill: i flew all kinds of missions.
i flew admirals and generals to the pentagon, landed on the ground at the pentagon. i flew in naples, italy during the kosovo war. i flew throughout the arabian gulf, supporting the fifth fleet. in the arabian gulf, and then i was at the headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the u.s. navy europe. there, i was on the battle watch floor during the run-up to the iraq invasion. >> you're also a russian policy officer. what did that entail? >> i handled all of the interactions between the united states navy and the russian federation navy, including some of our nuclear treaty obligations and some of the exercises that both the navies did together. >> what did you do after the navy e? >> after the navy, i went back to law school at georgetown and served in the u.s. attorney's office as a federal prosecutor and an outreach and reentry
coordinator. i helped to start the district of new jersey's first federal prisoner reentry court. helping people coming out of our federal prisons successfully reenter our communities. >> what inspired you to go to law school? rep. sherrill: i think i have long loved serving the country, and after serving the military, being concerned about some of the things going on at the time, torture, rendition, things that i had been told, as somebody who went through prisoner of war training that the united states would never do. i thought it was time to go to law school and understand the legal ways we can support the american values we have. >> you also, along the way, learned arabic. why? rep. sherrill: i wouldn't say learned it. i studied arabic. it is a difficult language. i really always loved the arabic language. i thought it was so interesting to have a completely different set of -- there is sort of
classical arabic that people know, but street arabic can be different. i found it a really interesting language and interesting region. it is something that, when i was in school, kind of, we were taught a lot of western civilization. to get past high school and start studying eastern civilization, i found very interesting. >> how are you utilizing all of these experiences you have had, everything you studied in washington now? rep. sherrill: it has kind of all come together in congress. as you know, congress handles a breadth of issues across the country, so to have a background in the middle east and now that we are still engaged in wars throughout the middle east, and we have problems with iran, to have the russian policy background, when we see the russians have attacked our democracy and attacked our election system, to be able to understand the ins and outs of that is critical.
to have a background in the military, when i sit on the armed services committee, and we are working on the national defense authorization act to make sure we have a strong military, while at the same time, we are spending taxpayer dollars wisely. all of that has helped me as a congress member. >> tell us about your family. along the way in your journey, you met your husband. rep. sherrill: i did. we both served in naples, italy at the same time. i was supporting the sixth fleet during the kosovo war and he was supporting nato. we met, we ended up getting married, we have four kids, so that has been part of the reason, a big part of the reason i ran for congress was because not only was i concerned about the future of the country and where i wanted to see it go today, but i am concerned about it over the next several decades because of my kids in the future i want them to have. >> how old are they? rep. sherrill: 13, 12, 9, and
7. >> you are busy. rep. sherrill: i am busy. [laughter] >> did you always want to be running for office? was that part of serving in your mind? rep. sherrill: no. i always wanted to serve, and i did. that is why i entered into the navy. then, i went back to work for the department of justice. yet, i have to say, serving in congress did not enter my mind. certainly with four school-aged children, it did not seem like a natural progression. however, when i thought about the values i grew up with and the values my grandfather taught me from world war ii and working with our nato allies and promoting our democratic values and human rights values, when i saw that i didn't think this country was promoting those values in the way it had when i grew up, i decided to run for congress. >> what were the values your parents instilled in you?
rep. sherrill: a deep love of this country and admiration for promoting democracy and human rights, and civil rights. i think this expectation that, as a country, we have never been perfect, but we have always been striving to be better. i want people today to strive to be better than we are now. >> what about your political philosophy? who shaped it? who are your political mentors? rep. sherrill: interestingly, as i grew up, my mother was a democrat and father was a republican. i think that's probably -- the conversations we had around the kitchen table probably shaped a lot of my understanding and, seeing both sides of different issues and working to come to some agreement, which i think my parents rarely did when it came to politics, but still, understanding there are different sides to every issue and good points often on both sides that you have to find a good path forward. >> and your political mentors? rep. sherrill: i have had many over the years.
other than my parents, i worked for many people throughout the navy, different admirals, the u.s. attorney when i was at the u.s. attorney's office, and then really a lot of the women in my district who have been so thoughtful and have come forward in this last election cycle with ideas and information. i will never forget, i was running for office and a friend of mine came up to me and said "did you see how they just voted?" she has this tracker on her phone and she was so engaged. i love that as a citizen of our democracy. i said, you know i haven't seen it because i have been at parades all day. so, to see people get that involved in our country and take responsibilities as citizens so seriously, i have really admired. announcer: finally, c-span spoke with democrat ed case, who is representing hawaii's first congressional district. he was born and raised in the state and he previously represented its second congressional district from 2002 to 2007.
representative case is the cousin of aol cofounder, steve case. >> congressman, you are a freshman of the 116th congress, but you have served before in the house. tell our viewers when and for how long. rep. case: first, aloha. i am ed case, probably representing hawaii's first congressional district, which is the city of honolulu. i served in the house from 2002 to 2007, so i took one term in the special election when my great predecessor patsy mink passed away unexpectedly. then i went on to two full terms in the house. i have had that experience and took a 12 year hiatus in hawaii, then somehow got lured back to running for congress again. this is my third tour of duty in congress, because i started, like many members of congress, as a summer intern for the then-member of the first
congressional district of hawaii. i worked steps away from where we are shooting this. this is like coming home again. i spent three years with him. then, later on, came back to congress. >> when you left after serving that first time in washington, why did you decide to leave? rep. case: i ran for the u.s. senate. like many u.s. good u.s. house members, you aspire to the u.s. senate. i ran and i was not successful in that election. so i was involuntarily retired from the u.s. house. went back to hawaii and as my job as a lawyer and hotel executive. i had a productive 12 years, but politics and government were still out there for me. it lured me back. >> how did this come about? rep. case: i did not like the direction of this country. i had a great life, great job, i felt i had left government and politics behind. i had had a number of full years in the state legislature and u.s. congress, was satisfied
with my service. but i felt things were deteriorating so fast and i got involved with the group called issue one, which is the reformers caucus, which is former members of congress, governors and cabinet members, who had all gotten together to say enough is enough. we have to fix washington. once i got involved with them, it was a slippery slope. >> what are the differences you have seen since the first time you were here and now, here in 2018 in 2019? rep. case: a lot of it is very familiar. as my third tour in washington, the rhythms are the same, procedures are the same, how you get things done is the same. you still have to develop relationships and look for the opportunities. you still have to know how to navigate the system. i feel fortunate to have had that prior experience. that is all quite familiar. what is different is the partisanship, the divide.
that was bad when i was here previously, 2002 to 2007, but it has gotten much worse in the 12 years since. it is much harder today to find common ground, at least on the big issues. on issues that are fairly nonpartisan and partisan to start with, we can still find that common ground. we are still passing legislation to support our veterans. we are still behind our military. those areas, for the most part, are not affected. on the large-scale tough issues, things like how to spend the money in the big picture and how to tax, how to pay for health care, the division is so intense that it is hard to find the middle ground. my belief is that that middle ground is where the solutions are forged. >> you have one of the toughest commutes for a member of congress. tell our viewers what it's like for you to try to get back, how long it takes, and how often you make that trip.
rep. case: i make the trip just about the same as everybody else, so i do in fact commute back to hawaii. i go back for the weekends where i can, and sure, it is tough, but when i start feeling sorry for myself, i can think about the delegates from guam or american samoa, there are other members inside of congress who have tougher commutes to get home. even the mainland united states it takes them a while to get to a particular airport and they have to drive quite a ways. when i arrive in honolulu, i'm pretty much home. it is about a 12 hour commute, and one thing that is good for me is that i can sleep fairly well on a plane. at the end of the week, when i'm going home, it doesn't matter what time i'm getting on that plane. i can still pass out, and i do. coming back is a red eye, otherwise you lose an entire
day. i get what i can out of the red eye sleep, and i get through my afternoon, and then i try to punch myself into the next week. no complaints. >> you grew up in hawaii. what was life like? rep. case: i had a wonderful childhood. i grew up in a small town in hilo, hawaii. it was not honolulu, it was a town of about 25,000. i often describe it as picturesque and quintessential small town america, but it was hawaii. it was an incredibly diverse community that i grew up in. i was routinely the only caucasian in my class and in public school. it was quite an outdoor upbringing. the ocean was there, the mountains were there, the trails were there, it had small town values.
so i grew up in a small town. i just happened to grow up in hawaii. i feel like i have the best of all worlds in my upbringing. >> what did your parents do for a living? rep. case: my family has been there since 1896. my story is unusual. my great grandparents immigrated to hawaii from kansas. this is on my father's side. at the time, hawaii was an independent country. i think they were looking for opportunity. they were looking for a new life, and hawaii was an up-and-coming country that has -- it looked like we would become part of the united states. i think they were attracted to the promise and opportunity of hawaii. that was a long, long time ago, and of course now, i'm the fourth generation, and we are working on about the seventh generation at this point, so that is a long group that has lived throughout all of the ages of hawaii. my great grandparents were prominent in their community in
maui. my grandparents were prominent auai.eir community on k my dad contributed to his community in honolulu. i have had a full life and i have a family around me that is also accomplishing things in hawaii. i feel -- i have that feeling of obligation both to my state and country that many of us in congress have. >> where your parents political? what did they do for a living? rep. case: my father was a lawyer by trade. he practiced law for 63 years and retired when he was 92 years old. my mother had seven children and found the time in the middle of that to get a masters in library science. she was a children's librarian. that was what they did. they weren't especially political. maybe this is unlike many of my colleagues, i didn't grow up in a political household. in fact, i did not have too much of a clue about politics.
i was too busy enjoying growing up in hawaii and also going to school on the mainland in massachusetts. at williams college. a great college and a great college experience, but none of that had anything to do with politics. for me, this politics stuff was an accident if you want to be honest about it. i came down here as a summer intern, and the only reason i came here as a summer intern was that i was looking for a way to kill the summer right after i graduated from college while i figured out what to do with the rest of my life. that turned into 44 years and counting. the opportunity that i saw and really the meaning that i saw, the passion i felt when i came in to congress as a summer intern at 22 years old has stuck - stayed with me ever since,
but it wasn't there before 2002, - 22. but i'm happy for the accident. >> what impact did your parents have on you? what values did they instill in you that you carry today in this work? rep. case: the one thing my parents gave all of us children, and we all had contributory careers, and i'm proud of my family -- my extended family too. the life i have lived is reflected in my cousins and second cousins and second cousins once and twice removed. we were all raised to feel a sense of obligation back to our community. my parents modeled that because, as they grew up and raised seven kids and tried to make a living for everybody, they were giving back to their community, so they were active in their local organizations. one of my siblings was very sick early in life, and my parents,
to support his particular illness and children like him, who had nowhere to go, but setting up a community organization and by changing state laws to recognize children like my brother needed help. although i didn't grow up in an atmosphere of, you must do this and that, i grew up in an atmosphere of, it is all around you, that life is not just about getting out of college and getting a job and making as much money as you can and living in the nicest house you can, and having the accoutrements of life. that is not the end of life. life is about finding something you're passionate about, something you consider meaningful, and that will give back. i've seen that, for me, the path was politics and government. my sister for example, she is the head of the hawaii state
department of land and natural resources, responsible for all of the public lands of hawaii. she has been passionate about the environment and natural resources all of her life. i have other relatives, my cousin steve case is passionate about entrepreneurship. we have all taken that from our parents, their parents, and their parents. i feel very fortunate that the path is not always an easy one, but i feel fortunate that was ingrained into me, because frankly, it has made for a much better life and i have been able to help a lot of people. announcer: new congress, new leaders. follow it all on c-span. announcer: in 1979, a small network with an unusual name rolled out an unusual idea. let viewers make up their own mind.
bringing you unfiltered information from congress and beyond. a lot has changed. today that id is more relevant than ever. on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government. so you can make up your own line. brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> on "newsmakers" this week, we welcome louisiana republican congressman garrett graves. he serves as a member of the house natural resources committee and the select committee on the climate crisis created earlier this year. helping in studio with our questions, brian schatz, energy and environment reporter. also ben hulac staff writer at cq roll call. >> give us a sense with a backdrop on this vote on the debt what the republican stra t