Random Human Stuff
Congressional Rep. John Garamendi takes questions on reddit, a social media network community.
California House member John Garamendi created a reddit account and took questions from Redditors. Here’s the message below along with some great Q&A:
Greetings Redditors, My name is John Garamendi, and I am a Member of Congress representing the 10th Congressional District in Northern California. Ask Me Anything. I will be back at 8 PM EST/5 PM PST today (Wednesday, March 2) to answer as many questions as I can get through. I previously served as California Lieutenant Governor, California Insurance Commissioner, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department under President Clinton, a state legislator, and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Thank you Reddit community for having me today.
UPDATE: It was an honor to speak with you. I couldn’t answer all of your questions, but you can keep track of my work at my website (http://garamendi.house.gov), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/repgaramendi ), and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/repgaramendi).
We will do this again soon. The upvoting format makes it easy to know what your priorities are. -John
Q anexanhume: John, I am curious as to whether or not you believe that it is possible to be a politician that reaches any major political office (say for instance, state legislator or large city mayor as the least important office) without owing either a person, political organization or corporation some sort of favor for reaching your office. Moreover, is it ever actually possible to vote on your principles consistently without the fear of losing reelection or angering someone who helped you get where you are? Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
A: Thank you for the question. It’s a good one. I believe I vote consistently with my principles. Obviously there are some political interests who align with me more than others, and that will be somewhat reflected in whom they choose to support. And like everyone, there are personal opinions about individuals that I sometimes keep to myself for the sake of congeniality and relationships. So the answer to your question is I honestly don’t think I “owe” any group my allegiance. I’ve been in public policy enough that I doubt there’s a single group left in America that has given me a 100% report card every year I’ve been in office. Ultimately, public policy is about choices and compromise. When I’m on the House floor, after all the debate is done, after all the deals have been struck, I’m left with a choice: Yes or No. This means I’ve voted for bills that had elements I didn’t like (I was disappointed the public option wasn’t in the Patient’s Bill of Rights for example) and voted against bills that had some good policy (I voted against tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires even though the bill contained an important extension of assistance for people looking for work). It’s clichéd at this point, but we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And to expound upon this, do you think it’s possible to do your job while continuously campaigning for re-election? If you’re doing a good job representing your district and taking the time to be in the district working with your constituents, re-elections are much easier.