The latest episode of Calfee NOW features a conversation between Congressman Mike Carey (R-OH, 15th District) and Calfee Government Relations and Legislation group members Dan Reinhard, Jamie Gregory, and Nick Bush.
Topics discussed included:
- The recent Speaker of the House vote
- Representative Carey's appointment to the Ways & Means Committee and other sub-committees
- Issues the Congressman plans to focus on during his term.
Welcome everybody to this episode of Calfee NOW. Today I am joined with Nick Bush from Calfee, Jamie Gregory from Calfee, and Congressman Mike Carey. Thank you Mr. Carey for joining us. My name is Dan Reinhard. I'll hopefully take us through the conversation today. And Mike, we're really excited to have you. And for those who don't know, Mike Carey was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives on November 4th, 2021, representing Ohio's 15th Congressional District. Mike, tell us a little bit about your district. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, I mean, the, the district is completely different than what it was when I won the first time. I went from a district that was literally one county away from the state of West Virginia to now a district that is one county away from Indiana. So, and if we have redistricting, again, as you know, Dan, I mean the, the, we don't know where the district's going to go, but you know, if you look really within the last three years, I mean, it's, we will probably have represented about 20% of the state. So when I ran, the second time, which was for the full term it was 70% new voters. I pick up most of downtown Columbus. So if you look at the State House and you look at the skyline that is that's, that's our district, but we go all the way over to Shelby and Miami County.
So it's a diverse district. It is a, it's a district where we have about 25% minority district. It's about a plus six Republican district. So probably if you look at all of the other congressional districts around the state that are held by Republicans, probably one of the closest. Max Miller and I have a similar numbers, but it's a agriculture, inner city, suburbs, you name it. So it's a, you know, it's a great district. I live in downtown Columbus, so it's you know, it's, it's convenient for me for, for you know, having downtown.
Great, great. And it's great to have a diverse district. Well, Ohio is a diverse state. So you probably see a lot of those different issues that, that, that your voters see are voters that all of Ohio see. So you're in Washington, D.C. I'd love to hear a little bit about what your impressions are. You've been there for a little while now, and in particular, you had an interesting kickoff to this year. You're in the house majority now. Very interesting race for speaker. It seems like that's behind you. How do you feel this Republican Conference is going to coalesce and, and move the ball forward?
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, I think, first off, what a lot of people don't realize that, you know, we, they saw the 15 votes for speaker, and they wondered why we kept voting and we didn't adjourn. And the problem was, is that you had 20 individuals in the Republican conference that wanted to gain some concessions, so to speak. And they didn't want to adjourn, and the Democrats didn't want to adjourn, so we didn't really have the ability to adjourn. So luckily for us, a couple nights, it, it went on until way late in the night that everybody agreed, Hey, it's just going too late. We'll, we'll adjourn, go in the next morning. But that's why you saw the 15 votes. And so some of the things that were given up by think by our conference, we had our conference rules that were set. We, we had talked about the vacating of the chair.
This was something that had been done historically that, you know, one person could object, or one person could put forth a motion to, to vacate the chair. This was something that had gone on forever. When Nancy Pelosi came into office, she wanted to make sure that there you couldn't just have one, you had to have a majority. When our conference met, and I'm talking about the Republican Conference, we all agreed that we would we wanted a majority of the people to make a motion to, to vacate the chair. Then we agreed with some of the some of the folks that were in the Freedom Caucus that said we wanted five, but then, you know, the day of the, what we thought was going to be the day of the swearing in it, they wanted to go to one. We agreed to that. And there were a couple other things, but I think in the end, you know, the last vote for speaker, we got there. And I think you've seen from the votes over the last few days since we've actually been in the majority. I think we got a very strong caucus. And I think we're going to, we're going to move the agenda forward that Kevin put forth, which was the commitment to America. And I think we'll get some Democrats on board too. I really do.
Good. That's, that's great. That's great to see that leadership. And one of the, one of the biggest steps after the leadership debate, and I think it's great to move the, the caucus forward is, is the assigning of committees. Nick, you're all over this kind of stuff. What are you seeing, and, and what questions do you have for, for Mike about the committee process?
Well, thanks Dan. Thank, thanks for being here today, Mike. Getting committee assignments is, is the first step of business, and we're now into February, today. In this past week, we've seen organizing meetings, getting committees up and running, really gets you the Republican majority on track to accomplish your goals. But before we get into what you think this next two years is going to be like, just tell us about your process in getting a committee assignment that you think is going to be impactful. It is a policy that interests you. And, and where did you land as we start this 118th Congress?
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, Nick, I mean, I, great question. I think if you look at where we are today when I got to Congress, you know, what, 15 months ago I knew right away that I wanted to go for the Ways and Means Committee and, and Ways and Means is the only committee that's actually in the Constitution. So, I mean, it's, so I am one of 25 Republicans that got there. I am the you know, most people will wait years to get to Ways and Means. And you know, Nick and Dan, I mean, we, we made the full court press to try to get that committee. And I was very fortunate because the person that became the, the committee chair is Jason Smith, and Jason was also the budget chair which I actually served on. So what's really great about that is we have a very good working relationship with the staff that Jason is moving over from budget that is, that's moved over to Ways and means.
So, one of the things that Jason is going to do you know, and this is a committee, you know, I and, and for folks who know me, know that I really, I really want to try to get things done, and Ways and Means is a committee that can actually get things done and get things done in a bipartisan way. And, and that's something that I've always done my whole career. So, you know, you have one of, we have 25 Republicans on that committee. We have 18 Democrats. And I think if you look at, as we developed the rules of all of the committees when you look at where we were at ways and means, we really didn't have much debate. We had about an hour and a half debate on some of the rules. But if you look at E & C, you look at natural resources, they had debate on their rules for seven hours.
So, I think you have a lot of serious people that are, that are on the Ways and Means committee. Jason has or the, the, the chairman, Jason Smith is, is said that we're going to go out to the American public. We've got our first field hearing that we're going to do in West Virginia that's going to be on Monday. And it's about a two hour drive from Washington. We're all flying in on Sunday night, much to our family's, chagrin, I can assure you. But we're, we're going to take these hearings out to the American public to see what's working and what's not working. And listen, I think we've got a really good team, whether it's on the Republican side, the Democrat side, and we'll move an agenda forward through ways and means that I think people will be proud of.
Excellent. Well, congratulations on that. I know that effort is, is Herculean to land on one of those coveted committee spots. And best of luck going forward and thank you. Before I turn this over to Jamie, what subcommittee assignments have you gotten a, a handle on? Are you looking forward to, to diving into anything particular?
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, so, I mean, if you look, so I, I was, I was very fortunate we got Ways and Means. But again, we, we have a thing in on Ways and Means, it's called the Martin Rule, which means the most junior is the last one to pick. So I was able to get one of the subcommittee roles, which is the Work and Welfare Subcommittee. And then I joined Drew Ferguson, who is the chair of the subcommittee on Social Security. So I'm, I'm one of the, one of the people that'll be on the Social Security subcommittee that. The thing about Ways and Means though is that it touches everything. And so while you have the subcommittees, and you guys know this, but as, as you have the subcommittees, it's really the full committee that works together. Like what we're doing at this field hearing on Monday is a full committee hearing.
So we're going to have a lot of questions about a lot of different things. So while you have the subcommittee chairs and the subcommittees that you're on, you're really still focused on the, on the full committee. The, the other, and I was fortunate enough, the speaker asked me, Speaker McCarthy asked me to serve on the House Admin committee, which is a committee that you know, a lot of people that aren't in DC don't know what the House Admin Committee does, but it does everything. It, it does everything from the functions of the house the functions of the ground to voter issues across the country. And so I was put on that as a, I got a waiver from the speaker for, for Ways and Means, was able to serve on a second committee. And then just found out yesterday that I'm going to be the, the, the, the chair of the Franking Committee. So I don't know that I'm going to have a lot of time guys, but the subcommittees are going to be fun, but the full committees are getting to be better.
Well Congressman, as Nick and Dan mentioned, congratulations on getting Ways and Means. It really shows a lot of respect in the conference that you got, it got on the committee after only 15 months. I mean, normally it, it takes several congresses, as you mentioned to get there. But the Ways and Means committee has a diverse portfolio. Ohio has a diverse economy. And I was wondering what particular issues that you want to focus on that are both important to Ohio and important to the country?
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, you know, I think if you look at the, obviously energy independence and, and what we need to do to make sure that we continue to, to have our natural resources, whether it's hard rock mining, whether it's oil and gas, but I think if you also just look at the tax code you know, you've seen a lot of great reinvestment into whether it's downtown Columbus, downtown Cleveland, downtown Cincinnati with some of these historical tax credits. These are all things that would have to go through the Ways and Means committee, something that I've as many people know, I'm a champion for historical preservation, and there are a lot of things that we can do within the tax code to make sure that happened. Particularly in Cleveland. I think you see a lot of what's going on downtown.
And you know, my hope is some of these regional meetings, maybe we can look at that, you know, look at, look at what's working in terms of the tax code to preserve some of these structures. Not only just the, you know, from the standpoint of saving the buildings, but also saving the cities that these, these buildings are in. So I'm excited about the opportunity. I think we're going to do a lot of trade issues. I mean, we know that's going to be a big issue. I think Jason has mentioned that we will probably do a couple codes into some of the ports across the, across the world, just to kind of understand what's going on, what's working, what's not working. That's the beauty of Ways and Means. It touches every aspect, whether it's banking, whether it's insurance, whether it's construction, whether it's infrastructure, whether it's energy. And, and my hope is as one of two Ohioans on the committee, two of the, the 25, I think Brad Winthrop, who's based out of Cincinnati who focuses on the healthcare portion, pretty, you know, that's, that's his focus. He's a doctor. I think we're going to do a lot of really good things and look at a, look at some amazing things that we can do to help change the, the course of this country right now.
That was great. That's great. Congressman Carey, we're really lucky to have a member like you in office taking on these different issues. You've described, you know, the committees you're on the duties that you're going to take on for the speaker, the duties that you'll have in committee, there's a lot of things that go on in Congress, though outside of your committee work in the, in the time that you do have, hopefully you'll be able to get home, see the family now and then, but there's a lot of things that you may want to look at personally. Yeah. and see what's, what's going on in this committee, what's going on in these areas what are some of those things that you've been paying particular attention to that, that maybe don't fit in your committee lane, but are things. Important nonetheless.
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, I mean, I think the, I think the one thing that you've got to look at in terms of where we are as Ohio, we've got really, we've got a really diverse group of folks that, that serve as members of Congress, but we, we also have a very good working relationship, bipartisan. I mean, I think if you look at the people that came in, I mean, Max Miller and I you know, took time out of our Saturday. We were at Emilia Sykes' swearing in up in Akron last Saturday. We were the only two congressional people that were actually there. Both of us Republicans you know, Shontel and I, Shontel Brown, who's who, she and I got sworn in together. She and I have a very close working relationship. Marcy's been great to me. Joyce Beatty and I are looking at reinstituting something that her and Steve Stivers put together, which, which kind of the, the Civility Caucus.
You know, because I think a lot of people see what you see on TV. You see the extremes on the left, and you see the extremes on the right. But for the most part, I think most of us, you know, we're, we're, we're kind of right there in the middle, and we may not agree, you know, on the way we get to from point A to point B, but we all agree that we got to get to point B. It's just a matter of how we get there. Greg Landsman, who's the new Democrat out of Cincinnati, we actually are neighbors in the Longworth building now. He and I've met, and I think we're going to work on some legislation together. I think the biggest thing that people need to take away is that what they see on TV as a, a very partisan divide within the Congress.
In my opinion, I don't see that as much. I mean, you'll see that on certain issues, but I think overall, I think there's a lot that we can agree. There's still going to be things that we can agree to disagree on, but we don't have to be disagreeable. And so my hope is that my relationship with the Democrats and my colleagues' relationship with the Democrats and us, we, we can be kind of the model for the rest of the country. And believe me, I think we're going to get there when you look at the Republican, the numbers that we have, we're going to have to have bipartisan bills in order to get things done. And so my hope is that the other states and the other parts of the countries will see what we've done in Ohio and make that be a model for, for what we do moving forward.
Yeah, and I think that's fantastic. What, what we hear from a lot of people that with whom we work, is how do, how do we get them to get things done? And knowing you throughout your entire career I know that you've always been a person who has tried to figure out how do we get things done? And so that's exciting to hear. We know that those other members that you identified throughout Ohio are fantastic members, people that we know and we've talked to as well, and really, really excited to hear that you're working with them and forging those relationships. I don't really have anything else that we were going to target, but I wondered, is there anything else that, that you wanted to touch on, you know, in your role or you want to talk about? There's going to be a lot of people that want to express their views to you, get in touch with your staff, you know how does, how does somebody find Congressman Mike Carey?
Congressman Mike Carey:
Yeah. Well, that's a good question. I'm trying to find myself half the time, Dan. You know, I think, you know, a anybody can find us on social media. You know, we have a pretty big presence on that, our website, our Facebook site you know, just the general number, which obviously I don't have in front of these. I can't give it to you <laugh>, but, but I mean, it's, we're, we're pretty easy to get ahold of. And, and we have a, we have a very good district staff. We, we've, we've moved over to an office that's in downtown Columbus. Plenty of parking, very accessible. I mean, Dan, I think you actually may have been here. I mean, it's pretty close to the Cap Square, which is where I wanted us to be. Because, you know, a lot of times, you know, when people come downtown and they have issues with the, the auditor, the Secretary of State, or the treasurer, they've got, they want to visit their, you know, their state legislators. I wanted to make sure that we were in a position and, and because it is our district that they could easily walk over and, you know, whatever, whether it's a social security issue, it's a visa issue. It's trying to get a passport. It's a veteran's issue. We wanted everything to be very close to the Capitol, so it could be easy for everybody. So but we got a great team in the state. And you know, we'll, if, if anybody needs us, we're pretty easy to find.
Fantastic. That’s fantastic. Nick, Jamie, anything before we close out?
No, I think we're good.
We're, we're excited to, to see that you're putting yourself in a position to be helpful to all. And as, as someone who, who worked on the last iteration of the Civility Caucus, we are extremely excited to see that there's some, some effort to, to bring that back. We need that more than ever now. And, and happy to have a champion in central Ohio with Joyce Beatty sort of leading that way. So thank you for what you're doing.
Congressman Mike Carey:
Well, and, and, and to that end, I think what's what, you know, I think, Nick, if you look at what, what she is, what she and I talked about, I think what her and Steve did was really focus on the schools. And, and I think we'll continue to do that. But I think the other thing is we're going to continue to reach in. One, one of the things that she and I talked about is reaching out to the, to the businesses across, you know obviously for me, I go from central Ohio to Western Ohio, but in central Ohio in particular, where we both share the, the county at Franklin County really try to step up and say, and explain to folks, you know, what you see on TV, as I said earlier, what you see on TV and what actually is the reality of it, is that, you know, we're going to work together. We're going to get 'em wrong, and we're going to move forward. We may not always agree on everything, but in the end, we agree that we we're going to work together to, to find what's best for this country. So Joyce has been very good with that. Steve did a great job with that. And my hope is that Joyce and I together can help lead again for, for Central Ohio, but also what we do nationally with Republicans and Democrats.
Well, that's amazing. Calfee is here to help with that effort. And thank you for your time today.
Congressman Mike Carey:
Thank you, guys.
Thank you. Thank you.
Congressman Mike Carey:
Right. Thanks everybody. And that'll conclude this edition of Calfee NOW.
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