New U.S. representative says Republican success hinges on 'loving message'
LISTEN: GPB's Peter Biello speaks with U.S. Rep.-elect Rich McCormick of Georgia's 6th Congressional District.
Among the winners in last night’s elections was Republican Rich McCormick in metro Atlanta’s 6th District, a district redrawn since the last census to become more favorable to the GOP. The former Marine pilot and ER doctor easily beat his Democratic opponent. He’d previously run and lost in the 7th District. He spoke with GPB's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.
Peter Biello: I'd like to hear a little bit about where you will be going as a congressman, especially when it comes to committee assignments, because it seems like even though all the votes across the country haven't been counted yet, Republicans are likely going to take over the House. Are there committee assignments that you would be particularly interested in?
Rich McCormick: I have a couple things that I do well in, and obviously I'm going to be the one doctor that's going to come into Congress who's still practicing and who's been practicing through this whole COVID pandemic. So I'd love to be in a position to affect health care, because I think health care is one of the things that we have to get right in the next five years. That's something I'm very, very interested in. I'm also a 20-plus year veteran and I believe very much in the military, and I'm very concerned for the direction of the military right now, the politicization of the military folks and how that's affected our recruiting, which is down by about 40%. To be involved in both those areas would be great.
Peter Biello: And how will you work to ensure any bill in the House is going to have enough support to pass the Senate, which is not going to have a supermajority for either major party?
Rich McCormick: If you're going to have a chance, anything you have to make this about the people when you put pressure on congressmen and senators it's because you believe in something. Now here's where the media war comes in, right? We have to not fight the bad fights that so many times we get involved in. You see, politics is as divisive is as you can ever imagine right now. I was at a recent GOP get together where I was speaking with another one. I won't name that person because it'll instantly supercharge this conversation. But the messages were totally different. One person was talking about impeachment and what we're going to do when we're in power and blah, blah, blah. And my message is this: You do it right for the people. You reach out to minorities and immigrants because that's the right thing to do, that we need to embrace. If you're going to evolve as a party, you have to make everybody feel like they're loved and that they have hope in what you're trying to accomplish. I think we have the right legislation. I think we really have a good idea of how to solve problems. But if it comes across as contrived or beneficial to only some people or just divisive or hateful, nobody's going to listen to it, no matter how good it really is. Because it's not going to be received well.
Peter Biello: Some House Republicans, as you mentioned, have talked about using their investigative powers to look into, for example, allegations against Hunter Biden or Anthony Fauci or the president over the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Are these investigations of the sort that you would support?
Rich McCormick: I need to see all the evidence. I'll tell you this: What we did in Afghanistan was egregious. As a veteran who served time with my family — I was nine months away from my family, three months of preparation and six months in-country in Afghanistan. And to pull out of a country like that in that manner and then to blame Trump? He wasn't even president anymore. That is simply not acceptable to me. And if we don't dig down and figure out what we did wrong, then shame on us because we'll repeat history over and over again. Hunter Biden should be investigated not because he's the president's son, but because of the evidence that he left behind on his computer and all the things —
Peter Biello: He is being investigated. He is being investigated by the FBI.
Rich McCormick: Well, that's my point. In other words, let's let's not make it a political point. Let's just make it, you know, if you do bad things, that's what the justice system is for. I'm not going to hang my hat on those things because that's not what the average person is going to benefit from.
Peter Biello: Where do you think you'll likely have the most common ground with Democrats?
Rich McCormick: I would like to think with a common sense approach to health care. And of course, I'm not sure, because most Democrats really want a single-payer system, which I don't think would work in America very well at all. But maybe immigration might be a good place to start. I'm a really big proponent of legal immigration. I think that if you make legal immigration hard, it encourages illegal immigration. And I'm all for getting good people here because we have a negative growth rate in America, you need a growing population to sustain our kind of economy. We need the right kind of workers when we have a shortage. We need the right kind of citizens. And I think having a streamlined population, or streamlined immigration policy, that encourages good behavior and rewards good behavior is going to be nothing but good for our country. And I think that's something that we can maybe come to an agreement on — if I can really make some inroads with my own party. That's been my message. It's a loving message. It's a message of hope for all people. And I think that's what we need to get back to if we're going to win a national election by popular vote.