America’s New Congress is filled with hundreds of Members and thousands of stories. Each week, GOP.gov will introduce you to a new House Republican with “10 Questions.”
Our member of the week is Representative French Hill of Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District. In Congress, he serves on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.
Prior to his congressional service, Mr. Hill was an active and successful business man. For two decades, he participated in the Arkansas business community as a commercial banker and investment manager.
He now resides in Little Rock with his wife and two children.
1.) What inspired you to run for Congress?
I believe that a citizen-led legislature is the foundation of our country. All citizens should consider stepping away from private life to serve in legislatures or on school boards, for example, or to get involved in any other form of public service.
2. ) What was your dream job growing up?
As a kid, I had a fascination with marine biology and archeology. A job in either one of those fields could be described as my “dream job” growing up.
3. What has surprised you most about life on Capitol Hill?
Little has changed! When I was 27 years old, I was a staffer on the Senate Banking Committee for Senator John Tower (R-TX). Thirty years later, obviously advances in technology and social media have made DC a different place, but I still see many of the same challenges for Congress that I saw when I was here in the 80’s. Another thing that hasn’t changed is the invaluable help of Capitol Hill interns.
4. Do you have any hidden talents?
My mother-in-law always appreciated my “imitations” of presidents past.
5. What is the last book you read that you simply could not put down until you finished?
I just finished Governor Sununu’s memoir, The Quiet Man, about his time as Chief of Staff to my old boss, President George H.W. Bush. It is a great read, especially if you enjoy a look behind the curtains of the administration of man who—in my opinion—is one of the finest public servants in American history.
6. Who is your biggest influence in your life?
My dad is my single biggest influence in my life. From being my favorite partner in canoeing, camping, and traveling in my youth, to serving as my best man in our wedding, to now at age 89, a terrific grandfather, he is an all-around amazing guy. He has been a fine role model as a dad, a civic leader, and business entrepreneur and manager.
7. When did you know you were a Republican?
I was about age 10 when I first volunteered for Winthrop Rockefeller’s campaign to be the first Republican Governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction. He was driven by policies to reform government, promote success for all Arkansans, and enhance economic growth. This experience, and a lot of my readings in my high school and college days, namely, “the Conscience of a Conservative” by Senator Barry Goldwater, Rep. Jack Kemp’s “An American Renaissance: a strategy for the 1980’s”, and Rep. Phil Crane’s “In Sum of Good Government” helped me to realize the Republican Party best represented my personal beliefs on economic growth and opportunity.
8. What is the most important–but under-reported—policy issue you work on?
This isn’t as much a policy issue as it is a public service announcement, but I am extremely focused on working with members of both parties to help shrink the skills gap in this country. There are so many good, aspirational jobs out there that are going unfilled because we don’t have enough workers with the necessary skills to hold those jobs. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and I are co-chairs of the Congressional Investment in America’s Skilled Workforce (CIAW) Caucus, and we are discussing creative ways beyond legislation to highlight these types of jobs, and encourage our youth to consider all potential occupations.
9. Describe your ideal “day-off”.
I love to be in the mountains, preferably above “tree line.” As John Muir said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings…”
10. What is your most favorite meal that you like to cook?
During dove and duck hunting season, I love to experiment with different ideas for grilling duck and dove meats. If anyone has any good recipes or ideas, please feel free to send them to me via my Facebook page.