One week ago, after a hard-fought and very expensive campaign, Republican Tom MacArthur won the right to represent the people of Ocean and Burlington counties in Congress. MacArthur told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that getting the victory in the Third Congressional District was great and that he is looking forward to orientation in Washington, D.C. this week.
“It feels great. My wife and I are looking forward to it,” said MacArthur. “We’re getting started already. I’m thinking about committees and staffing and all of the things that are necessary to be ready to get started immediately in January.”
After getting elected into Congress, MacArthur said that he has his eye on a few committees, including armed services, which he thinks is an important issue for the Third Congressional District. He also said that he is considering a few others and that he wants to talk with leadership in the House and see what’s possible and what might be a good fit for the district.
In his victory speech on Election Night, MacArthur said, “We need leadership from our president and we also need leadership from our own party in Congress. This has been a successful night, but this is an opportunity to govern, not to gloat.” MacArthur said that he believes what he said to be true and that the American people spoke loud and clear on Election Day, saying enough is enough.
“The role of government is to improve the lives of the people that it answers to and I think people want to see government work and that means people like me and people in the Democratic Party have to work together,” said MacArthur. “There’s no other way in our system of government for things to get accomplished and so Republicans had a great night on Election Night and now I believe it’s time for the Republican-led House and Republican-led Senate to work with the administration and accomplish things that benefit the lives of people in America.”
MacArthur said that items currently on his agenda all relate to the economy. He said he’s focusing on health care, Social Security, Sandy recovery and the joint base that is in his district. He said that all those issues require a sound economy and the basic building block of that economy is jobs. He said there are still 25 million people that are either unemployed or under-employed, which needs to be fixed.
MacArthur said that Congress has an ability to foster job creation and that it has an ability to stimulate job growth to make it easier for small and big businesses to make job creating decisions. He said when there is uncertainty and a changing environment, business owners put off big decisions. “This government needs to define policies that make it easier for people to pursue their business interests,” he said.
MacArthur said that there is a way to breach the divide between a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a Democratic president.
“Ronald Regan was highly effective with an opposing Congress. Bill Clinton was highly effective. It just takes resolve, it takes people,” MacArthur said. “I think accepting that the other side is just as well intentioned and maybe sees things differently and you find areas of compromise. So I certainly believe that the House and the Senate will put more legislation on the president’s desk. Obviously we can’t control what he does with it, but I’m optimistic that we can find a way to move forward and maybe it takes a little time to build the trust. We’ll see. But I see no reason why this Congress can’t be highly effective and get things done.”
MacArthur anticipates challenges in Congress to be the sheer volume of information and learning how to be effective in that environment, as well as developing relationships that are critical to building trust. “I think there’s a lot that has to happen very quickly in that regard and I’ve already started on that,” he said.