New Lawmaker, Ex-GOP Chair: Prioritize Fiscal Policy

Blog Post
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Democratic Congressman-elect Chris Pappas and former Republican Party State Chair Jennifer Horn joined the latest Facing the Future program to discuss campaigns, policy priorities and the need for bipartisan reform.

Among the policy issues mentioned by Pappas, he stressed the importance of identifying budget priorities and tackling growing budget deficits.

“It should be something that is top of mind for every member of Congress, everyone who serves in office,” Pappas said. “Interest on the debt is going to become our third largest federal program, after Social Security and Medicare, and it’s going to crowd out the priorities that we need to invest in over the long term in future budgets.”

“We’re much better off if we start out --  from today -- making the types of changes that we need to see, as opposed to waiting 10 years, when the changes would have to be a lot more drastic,” he said.

Horn expressed concern about her party’s struggle to tackle the nation’s fiscal policy challenges and more.

“The movement away from some of these issues that have been core to the Republican Party for 25 or more years is one of the great disappointments of the last two years for, I believe, the majority of Republicans across this country,” Horn said.

Pappas and Horn, who has run for Congress twice and won the GOP nomination for New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District in 2008, also shared what it is like to run for higher office.

“I have run for office before,” Pappas said, “But . . . when you run for Congress, you have to put every ounce of your being into it.”

“I learned so much about a state that I felt like I knew pretty well,” he said.  

“When I ran for Congress, it was the first time that I had gotten involved in a political effort,” Horn said. “It was a real learning experience for me, but it was a really positive experience for me as well.”

Pappas expressed interest in serving on committees that he feels have an impact on people in his district and are forward-looking, like the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. That is likely to be a key committee, with both parties expressing interest in infrastructure needs but with questions about finding adequate funding.

Both Horn and Pappas see bipartisanship as necessary.

“I look forward to finding bipartisan partners to support the efforts to continue to expand services across our state to our veterans, and I think that’s one area where there’s no question Republicans and Democrats can work together,” Pappas said.

Horn discussed “one of the big things that I have thought about . . . that has changed so dramatically in such a short period of time.”  When she ran in 2008, she said, “one of the big applause lines when I gave a speech would be when I would talk about reaching across the aisle to try to bring folks to the table to have those conversations about solving the problems that we face.”

The situation is different today, she said. “Partisanship in and of itself is not a bad thing. Where we have ended up today is a different place than just normal partisanship.”

Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.