Have You Met ... Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers?

Elisabeth Meinecke

2/17/2012 8:00:00 AM - Elisabeth Meinecke

One of the Hill's leading ladies is helping communicate conservative values to a 21st century audience.

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From Townhall Magazine's "Have You Met...?" series, February 2012:

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers comes from eastern Washington state. She counts clean, renewable energy development and affordable health care as two of her highest legislative priorities. She has used her leadership position within the House to rally her party around the use of social media to make government more transparent. She hosts panels on women’s issues and is a working mother of two.

Contrary to long-held political stereotypes, however, the representative from Washington’s 5th district is a conservative Republican—not a Democrat.

Party aside, McMorris Rodgers might be one of Congress’ busiest members, owing to a penchant for hard work that’s been evident throughout her life.

She put herself through Pensacola Christian College, becoming the first member of her family to attain a higher degree. Before her election to the House in 2004, she worked in her family’s orchard, served in Washington’s state legislature and earned her executive master’s degree in business administration—all at the same time.

She wouldn’t have run for her current seat, but others, including her seat’s former tenant, saw great leadership potential in her and approached her about running for Congress.

Now as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee in Congress, she sees about half of all legislation pertaining to the economy. Within the committee’s broad mandate, however, she has made One of the Hill’s leading ladies is helping communicate conservative values to a 21st century audience. domestic energy production a high priority and is working to clear regulatory obstacles in the way of certain renewable energy options.

“Coming from the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is very important—a lot of our electricity comes from hydropower,” she says. “I’ve introduced legislation to streamline the process for small hydropower projects, hoping to encourage more development of hydropower. It’s a clean, renewable, affordable source of electricity, and there is huge potential there.”

She was also the first person to question U.S. participation in the International Monetary Fund bailout of Europe’s flailing economy. In 2009, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner requested a $108 billion line of credit to the IMF—just after the costly bank and auto industry bailouts.

“I was the one that started sounding the alarm here, that at a minimum, Congress should be debating whether we should get involved in the European bailout,” she says.

Concerned about sending U.S. taxpayer money to help economies abroad while its own still suffered, she introduced a bill that would pull back that line of credit. It has 83 cosponsors and counting.

“It would bring some transparency and accountability,” she says. “The administration right now won’t even tell us how much of the $108 additional, separate line of credit has even been committed.”

Her dedication to transparency has carried over into her work as vice chair of the Republican House Conference, where she’s undertaken the formidable cause of leading congressional Republicans technology-wise into the 21st century. ...

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