5 Questions with Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
Heritage Action: What aspect of government (i.e., program, department, agency) do you want to reform the most? What legislation are you currently pushing or working on to achieve that reform?
Rep. Gowdy: I want to see the size and scope of government returned to its constitutional proportions. This out-sized scope is manifested in a myriad of agencies. For instance, education is essential to South Carolina’s continued development as an attractive venue for research and manufacturing. But education is a decidedly state, local and familial issue.
I care deeply about the integrity of the Department of Justice and its ability to transcend the vagaries of political cycles – hence my interest in oversight with all aspects of the Department and specifically with Fast and Furious. I would like to see a new legislative paradigm that asks these three questions in this order: (1) is it constitutional, (2) is it sound public policy and (3) is it affordable. Too often we skip (1) and debate the merits of the underlying idea without regard to the constitutional context. Exhibit A with respect to this is the recent, and unprecedented, HHS mandate with regard to providing “free” contraception to all via employers’ insurance – even if it violates the free exercise of religious beliefs by the employer.
Cut, Cap and Balance would have been a dramatic step forward on the pathway to fiscal responsibility and I am very proud of our colleagues that championed that bill. So too am I proud of the moral courage demonstrated by Rep. Paul Ryan and his willingness to be truthful with our fellow citizens about the long-term viability of the entitlement programs.
HA: What’s a piece of smaller legislation, or nominee, that is currently on the agenda but flying under the radar that you feel conservatives should be concerned about?
Rep. Gowdy: The National Labor Relations Board has abandoned all pretense of objectivity and become sycophants for Big Labor. So, the constitutionally infirm “recess” appointments are especially troubling – both practically and legally. It isn’t just Boeing or just a “South Carolina” issue. Quickie elections, the posting of certain “rights” while ignoring real employee freedom, and the willingness to use legal action – a complaint against a leading manufacturing exporter – to enhance the bargaining strength of a union in Washington State is dangerous. Government agencies should be more concerned with fairness, equity, and respect for the rule of law than aiding a loyal constituency.
HA: What do you enjoy the most and the least about being a Member of Congress?
Rep. Gowdy: I enjoy learning about issues and challenges beyond what I encountered in my former job as a prosecutor. I also enjoy the fact there are some very decent and service-minded Members who may not make the news quite as often as members who do things that are more provocative. Above all, I enjoy the chance to represent the area where I was born and grew up. It is an awesome honor that your fellow citizens would give you this chance particularly in these challenging times for our nation.
I enjoy least being away from my wife, our children, and South Carolina.
HA: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not in Washington?
Rep. Gowdy: I most enjoy going to schools, churches, businesses, colleges, and service clubs to lay out the issues confronting our country in as even-handed a way as I can. I like the give and take of the audiences because in South Carolina these conversations are rooted in civility and mutual respect even if one reaches a different conclusion on the underlying issue. Away from work altogether I enjoy taking our three dogs – “Judge”, “Jury” and “Bailiff” – for walks.
Beating Mick Mulvaney in golf is pretty fun as well.
HA: What do you miss most about being a kid?
Rep. Gowdy: What I miss most about being a kid is the belief that the adults really had all the answers and everything was going to be ok.
Congressional Profile: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)