INTERVIEW: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Women, Work, and Politics

INTERVIEW: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Women, Work, and Politics

Ten-year Congressional veteran Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents eastern Washington State, is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House of Representatives . Last January, Rodgers delivered the rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address. Recently, I had a chance to interview her. Among other things, we talked about what it's like to be a working mother on Capitol Hill and about her outlook for women in the GOP.

Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers

Grace Hwang Lynch: Tell me a little about you got started in politics and how you’ve risen to being the chair of the House Republican Conference, making you the highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress?

Cathy McMorris Rodgers: I got involved in politics right out of college, working on a family friend's campaign for the state House in Washington State. He won his race, and offered me a job. That was really the beginning. What I saw was that, in politics and running for office, being involved in these issues that mean very much to your community, you can make a difference, as far as impacting people’s lives for the better and creating more opportunities at all levels of government.

And I found lot of fulfillment in working for another elected official. Three years later, my boss was appointed to fill a seat in the state Senate, and he encouraged me to seek the appointment in the state House. That was the beginning of me becoming an elected representative, and I’m very honored to serve the people. People often ask, "What inspires you?" and it really is the people. Whenever I am home in eastern Washington, it is the people who really pump me up and make me want to work harder on their behalf.

I served for 10 years in the state House, and became the minority leader for the Republicans after the 2002 elections. Serving in the state House is very part time in Washington. We’re in session from January to March or April, so I stayed involved in our family business. We had an orchard and fruit stand in Kettle Falls, north of Spokane, and it was a nice mix to be able to be at the orchard and involved in the business in the summer and fall months. And then I went back to school, got my Executive MBA—thinking that I was going to get out of politics, actually. And instead, there was an open seat for Congress, and again the former Congressman George Nethercutt called me one day and encouraged me to consider running for Congress.

Related Posts

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers: A Republican Woman Who Believes in Real Change

Republican women in Congress have become a bonded group in the past 18 months – thanks in part to the leadership of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who serves Washington’s Fifth Congressional district. McMorris Rodgers is the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and has championed Republican efforts in the health care debate recently by recognizing that women make the majority of family health decisions and noting the particular health concerns of women. She’s also led by example with the message of necessary health care reform for those with special needs because her young son, Cole, was born with Down syndrome.   Read more >

President Obama’s State of the Union: The Most Social Media Ever?

At a time when second-term President Obama is facing low approval ratings, tonight’s State of the Union address is becoming even more interactive online than ever. The White House website will be streaming the speech, and a team of five of the president’s top staff will be taking questions online immediately following the address.   Read more >

The Average American Will Have to Work 137 Days This Year to Pay Their Share of Federal Spending

On April 15th, better known as ‘Tax Day,’ the American people reflect on the size of their tax burden and whether or not they’re receiving good value for their tax dollars.  This year, with the federal budget at $3.8 trillion, the budget deficit at $1.3 trillion, and with a host of new taxes taking effect on account of the health care bill, we have more reason than ever to be concerned about the impact that tax and spending policies are having on our economy and our freedom.  Today’s protest rallies in Eastern Washington and across America show growing frustration with President Obama and the Majority in Congress, and I share that frustration.   Read more >

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.