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.”
This week’s Featured Member is Rep. Garret Graves, who represents the 6th Congressional District of Louisiana. Rep. Graves was sworn into office on January 6, 2015, and he serves on two committees: Transportation and Infrastructure and Natural Resources.
Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Graves served six years in the cabinet of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, as Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. He is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he lives with his wife Carissa and their three children.
We asked Rep. Graves 10 questions:
1. What was your first job?
Land surveying in the swamps of South Louisiana.
2. What is your favorite movie and why?
Animal House… because it makes me nostalgic of college (of course, I’m referring to other peoples’ experiences).
3. What is your favorite vacation destination?
There is no other place in the world like the coast of Louisiana. A sunrise or sunset down here is like no other. It is so peaceful. When you throw in a little fishing and I’d put it up against anywhere else. Our family has always has enjoyed mountain sports. We try to climb a peak every year or two so that would be second place.
4. Where are you most likely to be seen dining when you’re home in your district?
The great thing about South Louisiana is that we have the country’s best food. Some of our favorite spots include Zeeland or Parrain’s in Baton Rouge, Mike Anderson’s in Gonzales, Big Mike’s in Denham Springs, Heads and Tails in New Roads, Politzs in Thibodaux and Cajun Critters in Houma. In addition to loving seafood, I have a weakness for pizza and it is tough to beat Fleur de Lis. I could keep going….
5. Who is your favorite sports team?
Whoever wrote this question obviously isn’t familiar with Louisiana. LSU.
6. When did you realize you were a Republican?
I was in 7th grade during the Reagan – Mondale election. Our teacher asked us to conduct a mock presidential debate. We had to decide which side we were on. It did not take a whole lot of research to figure it out. As I grew older, experiencing the affect of government on our family’s small business was eye-opening. There is a complete disconnect between Washington, DC regulations and the realities inside small businesses at home. Jobs are taxed away and regulated away — meanwhile, other countries are picking up the jobs and laughing to the bank.
7. What’s the most important — but under-reported — policy issue you work on?
Energy security and shifting the paradigm on community resilience. The largest single component of our trade deficit in 2011 was importing energy from foreign sources — hundreds of billions of dollars. In many cases, we are putting billions of dollars in the pockets of countries that are working against us. It is analogous to buying bullets for the enemy to shoot at you. It is nonsensical. We have abundant supplies of domestic energy and should be playing a much larger role in global energy markets. In regard to community resilience, as a nation we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on disaster response. A fraction of these dollars could have been spent preventing damages. FEMA and Corps of Engineers policies need to be entirely redesigned. We are wasting billions of dollars and leaving our communities and environment vulnerable.
8. What motivated you to run for public office?
I have three young kids, and I care deeply about their future. I’m frustrated with trajectory of our country and believe that I can help put us on a more sustainable path.
9. What were you most surprised about when you started serving in Congress?
Surprised probably isn’t the right word, but I’ve been encouraged by a number of bright, motivated folks with solid intentions serving in Congress. It has also been been frustrating to see how many people will vote straight party line without consideration of constituents or the future of this nation. We are all Americans and need to put this nation on a course correction.
10. What’s one piece of advice that has helped shape the course of your life?
Well, I’d have to say, “Never take ‘no’ for an answer.” Heeding the advice didn’t work out so well for me in kindergarten through most of high school, but a few of my college professors began appreciating it a little more.
Check out our previous editions of 10 Questions:
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX)
Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)