U.S. Representative Scott Rigell (R-Virginia Beach) sat down with modenook.com on friday. His district office was focused on Congressional business, no talk of the campaign the Congressman has to run this year. His very professional staff keeps him on time for all the meetings a normal congressman must go through.
While talking with Congressman Rigell, he stresses his entrepreneurial background and how it helps him serve his district. His first business was a cleaning company. He and his wife also started car dealerships and own office buildings. He holds an M.B.A., as well. His favorite saying as a businessman is “You’re hired.”
1. Many of the issues that you are fighting for have strong lobbyist influence against. How are you handling the pressures coming from K Street?
He stated he hasn’t felt pressure from the lobbyists. He has even turned down funds from groups who don’t share his values. The biggest pressure he feels is from the Republican leadership in the House to get legislation passed.
One of Congressman Rigell’s big focuses is on energy and the lobbyists haven’t been able to pressure him on it. He stated that the Republicans and Democrats both have failed in moving the country forward on the issue. He sees it as a national security issue. The money being paid by this country to Arab governments for petroleum is making its way to Pakistani terrorist camps.
On this issue, President Obama, according to Congressman Rigell, has said one thing and his actions have been something else. The moratorium on offshore drilling is really a moratorium on jobs and revenue. This is because more and better paying jobs mean more taxes. The Congressman sees it as right for Virginia to get energy from offshore.
2. Jobs are on the rise, but this country still is manufacturing very little and still has companies preferring to keep jobs overseas. What do you think is needed to change this, so we quit having the drywall issue or the orange juice issue?
Congressman Rigell stated he does not believe the numbers coming from the Administration. He believes that they are not looking at those individuals that have had to drop off the roles of unemployment because they have been unable to find a job and have been jobless longer than the benefits cover. That would put the jobless rate as much higher.
Congressman Rigell sees the need for the emphasis to be on U.S. entrepreneurs. “Have the government get out of the way.” He is not for a lack of regulations, but instead he wants lighter stronger regulations.
Congressman Rigell is not for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He sees it as burdensome and an overreach of power. He was able to get an amendment to reign in some of it passed in the House, but it did not get through the Senate.
The Consumer Protection Agency is an independent “watchdog” that Rigell believes is hurting business with its handling of credit. In recent talks, he has discussed this with entrepreneurs and large companies. “The sum of all the current regulations presents ever increasing hurdles.” He wants people to be entrepreneurs like him, so they can also have the joy to say “You’re hired.” He sees uncertainty as the enemy of job creation.
3. Your energy plan could help create jobs. What do you think the holdup is with trying to wean this country off of foreign energy?
Congressman Rigell stated there is an advocacy on both sides, but they are linear, one dimensional positions. He tries to get people to realize they are Americans first and their political beliefs second. He believes if we find common ground, not compromise, it will help the political process. He finds that less linear and more 3D. He believes that you have to work with both sides, to preserve and strengthen the Republic.
One example of where people can work from common ground is environmentalist issues. He said he believes he is an environmentalist in his own way. He sees the differences between the two political sides of the issue as a timeline one. One of the local issues is the Chesapeake Bay, which he also wants to see cleaned up. The issue is the timeline on the Total Maximum Daily Loads, which the Congressman sees as based off of questionable science. The current standards on the clean up result in local communities having to either tax a lot more or cut services in other areas. This issue is going to cost taxpayers in Virginia Beach an extra $1400 in taxes this year, he stated. Congressman Rigell believes in stretching out the timeline more, so this unfunded mandate can be accomplished with less of a burden to local communities.
4. NASA has led this country in sciences and technology. The finds has spurred growth in many fields that we are starting to lag behind in now. What is your stance in it being weakened so much over the past few years?
Congressman Rigell started talking about his father on this answer. Ike Rigell, a Marine Veteran of Iwo Jima, was one of the early pioneers of NASA. He worked with Werner Von Braun and was the flight director for Apollo 11. Congressman Rigell grew up in Titusville, FL around NASA. The Congressman was just at Langley to give a speech.
The NASA budget cuts just got rid of one hypersonic research project and cut another in half. He sees this as the country losing a competitive and strategic advantage. Congressman Rigell does not sound happy about the damage being done to this far reaching part of the government.
The Congressman describes the problem with the federal budget as compression like tectonic plates coming against the country. He stated most of this is coming from medical inflation. There is a demographic wave increase by 1/5 of seniors over the next ten years. According to the Congressman, the President sees the problems, but fails to fix them. He stated that someone needed to make wise decisions and support on both sides to get medical inflation under control.
The compression of the budget issues mean that the Congressman has had to see how each issue is interconnected. He said he is not a man without hope and not an American without hope, though. He sees what he’s working for as genuinely sustainable across a broad spectrum to do what’s right, as a duty to our kids. He sees people will rise up and be better informed.