Mary Katharine Ham

(Note: On Wednesday, bloggers talk to Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee (7th). She was first elected in 2002 and is currently the Assistant Majority Whip.

Congresswoman Blackburn: One of the things as we’re looking at the conference race that I will start with is talking about what the conference chairmanship is. When we look at our conference structure, which is the House Republican conference, then the conference chair serves basically as your chief communications officer for the House Republican members. One of the things that conference chair does is to be responsible for helping to build that strategic vision and helping getting our party back on track, talking about things that we are for. That is a process that we as House Republicans are going to need to do. We’ve got to listen to what the American people are saying. Obviously, we have not listened over enough over the last few years. We didn’t listen enough on spending; we didn’t listen enough on the size of government. We had some members that broke that law or acted unethically, and we didn’t take enough action against them and we didn’t do it quickly enough. The first thing we have to do to get back to the majority is to listen and reflect and hear what they’re saying and reflect that in our platform. That’s what the Contract of America was. It reflected the vision that Americans had for this country. That’s also one of the reasons I think why Ronald Reagan was so loved and so successful, because he tapped directly into the hopes and dreams of the American people and what they wanted for their families, and for their children, and for themselves.

I honestly believe that our party still wants smaller government and a less intrusive and evasive government. They want more transparency in that government; they want to reduce taxes and encourage entrepreneurship and encourage the American people to be risk takers in bold as they realize what they want out of their lives. I think that those things that Reagan talked about still resonate. I don’t believe that the people want Hillary healthcare; I think they want choice; they want flexibility; they want access. I do believe that the American people want a strong defense, and they want us to win in Iraq. The Left thinks that they don’t care, but I don’t think that that is true. So, that’s pretty much the big picture. We’ve got to get back to where the people are and translate that into a platform and a vision, and then we have to go out and effectively communicate it. That’s something we haven’t done lately.

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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