Interview with Congressional Candidate Rick Kennedy

Conducted by Alexandra Cannon, Groesbeck Journal

Rick Kennedy, Democratic congressional candidate, stopped by the Journal to discuss his views on issues including health care, public education and tax reform, and the negative effects being suffered by the common man due to a lack of governance in Congress.


Q) You live in Austin, which is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, but a lot of District 17 is more rural. How do you plan to represent some of the rural issues at the congressional level?

A) Listen. You listen to what's important to people, you interact with your constituents. You have to interact with your constituents and you have to do it face to face. In a district of this size and diversity, no individual represents everybody in the district. I don't. Dale Mantey doesn't through personal experience, Bill Flores certainly does not. He is a very wealthy oil executive. He certainly doesn't represent most of the people in the district. So you have to be open minded. You have to interact, you have to listen to what's important, and you have to look at these problems. I look at these issues as problems to be solved, not Democratic problems to be solved, Republican problems to be solved, and not ideological problems to be solved. Twenty seven and a half million Americans without health care. That's a problem to be solved, so let's solve the problem. Let's agree that that's the problem and then solve it together, however that needs to be done.


Q) Differing political views can get ugly, the dreaded Thanksgiving dinner topic for some families or cause of bickering between neighbors. What can you say about the importance of party affiliation at a congressional level?

A) There are basically three forces that drive Congress at the federal level. You know there's country, there's constituents, and there’s party, and they're all important. They all have to be balanced because there's strength in party, and there is advantage to gaining seniority in your party because then you can get higher positions on committees or even chairmanship of committees and that brings essentially more power to your district. But there's got to be a balance there. We are so polarized at the moment and I blame… there's lots of things to blame. Gerrymandering is one of them, where your incumbents think they only have to address 30 to 35 percent of the population to get reelected. The balance has shifted far too much towards the political side of things and towards appeasing the party and the donors rather than actually governing. Politics should be a subtext of governance not the other way around. And we are the other way around right now.

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