For NFL player-turned-congressman Jon Runyan (R-3), the decision to run for re-election was made the moment he got into office. The two-year term, he said, does not afford the luxury of getting settled into office first before deciding on another term. The process, he said, begins the day after election.
New to politics when he got into office, the Republican congressman told Managing Editor Mike Schneider that it took six months to understand the procedures of the office and develop necessary time management skills.
He cited partisanship in Congress as the biggest surprise of the office. On that note, he said that he feels the same frustration as voters that nothing is being accomplished. At the same time, he said that the House of Representatives unfairly gets the majority of the public blame when it’s primarily the Senate that is failing to do its job.
“I think a lot of the times when people say ‘Congress,’ everybody just assumes its the House. Well, I can tell you the House has done a lot of good, got a lot of good pieces of legislation out of the chamber. Yet there is no companion bill coming out of the Senate. But it just ends up being a stalemate and then it ends up being partisan talking points back and forth instead of moving forward bipartisan pieces of legislation.”
One of Runyan’s committee assignments is serving on the House Armed Services Committee. When asked about President Obama’s approach in Afghanistan, he questioned how decisions were being made. He said the correct approach would be to let the generals dictate what they need to do their job. “And from what I’ve seen sitting on the committee, I don’t believe that the generals are getting their say in this process,” said Runyan.
He also expressed concern about withdrawing troops too early, thereby sending the wrong message to the world. He said that several generals have told him that if “we leave early now, the next time we end up in a conflict like this … people will question your willingness to go out and actually challenge them.’