By Admin | December 28, 2007
United States Representative Jim Gerlach represents the 6th District in Pennsylvania and recently took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us what his life is like as a United States Congressman.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh.
Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?
I graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Education.
What was your career path from college to the U. S. Congress?
I graduated from the Dickinson School of Law in 1980 and practiced law for 10 years before being elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1990.
I served four years in the Pennsylvania House and then was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 1994.
After serving in the Pennsylvania Senate for eight years, I was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2002.
When Congress is in session, how often do you get home?
I typically remain in Washington during the entire session week. After last votes of that session week, I return home until the next session week.
When Congress is not in session, do you stay in Washington or come back home?
I only am in Washington during session days and always return home after session week votes are concluded.
Have you been to dinner at the White House and, if so, how would you describe it?
I have been to the White House for a number of social occasions.
However, the most memorable was last year when my wife and I were invited to a small state dinner with the President to celebrate the 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin.
It was a group of approximately fifty individuals with various connections to Benjamin Franklin – from Benjamin Franklin historians and authors to the head of the Franklin Institute to the President of the University of Pennsylvania, which was founded by Franklin.
The dinner was composed of the various appetizers, entrees, and desserts of the colonial period and was topped off by a presentation by the famed Benjamin Franklin impersonator, Ralph Archbald.
What has been your most thrilling or exciting single moment since you have been in Congress?
The most exciting moment was sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives in January 2003 to listen to my first State of the Union Address by President Bush.
I sat there thinking what a great country this is to allow a kid from a small steel town in western Pennsylvania to end up sitting on the House floor watching the President of the United States give the State of the Union Address.
It was an unbelievable moment!
If you could be known be known for your work in Congress on one single issue, what would it be?
I have worked to advance good, solid environmental policy for our nation. From my Chairmanship of the House Land Conservation Caucus to the prime sponsor of the National Estuary Program Reauthorization.
I have worked hard to sponsor and support legislation that improves the environmental quality of life in our communities and country.
What would you like your next job in elected or appointed politics to be? U. S. Senator? Governor?
I have no plans for future office other than running for re-election in 2008 for the great job I have as Congressman of the 6th District of Pennsylvania.
What is your next job after leaving politics?
I have no plans beyond doing a great job for the people of the 6th District in the next 111th Congress if so honored by the voters in my district.
Who actually runs the day-to-day activities in Congress? Who runs the freshman orientation, who assigns offices, who assigns parking spaces, who notifies you of impending votes, who do you go to when you have a problem with health insurance?
The day-to-day legislative activities of Congress are the responsibility of the Majority party of the House and Senate. It’s the Majority party that controls the flow of legislation out of committees and onto the floor for votes.
Consequently, the Majority party’s legislative staff are a critical part to that process.
From an administration standpoint, the House and Senate have tremendously competent administrators and parliamentarians who then facilitate the movement of the legislative agenda by the Majority party.
As for specific issues like office or parking space assignment, that is typically run by the House Administration Committee and its counterpart in the Senate.
In the House, the Committee also oversees the freshman orientation for those just elected to the House and much of one’s office location, parking space assignment and committee assignments are based upon one’s seniority within the body.
Finally, if any Member takes ill while in Washington for legislative business, that person can go to the House Physician’s Office for healthcare service.
What House committees do you currently sit on? Which House committees would you like to sit on?
I currently serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee including Sub-Committees on Highways and Transit, Aviation, and Railroads; as well as the House Financial Services Committee.
What is your favorite dish in the Members dining room?
The Senate bean soup, of course.
How would you rate yourself as a fundraiser?
Respectable – we seem to be able to raise such funds that are necessary to meet the needs of our campaigns.
Does your wife work outside of the home and if so, what does she do?
Yes, she does. She works for an Exton company that produces natural skincare products for spas and healthcare providers.
Copyright 2007 DailyInterview.com
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