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An Interview with Manzullo and Markey

Jules Struck ’19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The Dickinsonian sat down with former U.S. House of Representatives members Don Manzullo (R-IL) and Betsy Markey (D-CO) to speak about issues concerning college students today. Excerpts of the interview are below.

The Dickinsonian: What are your thoughts on the swell of women that are running in this cycle? 

Betsy Markey: I think it’s great… It’s still about 17 percent in the House and I remember the year I was elected there were about 20 women in the Senate, but that’s out of 100. I wouldn’t be jumping up and down for that number. It’s important to have the Congress look like America. And we’re 50 percent of the population so I’m very happy to see more women running. I just think it’s good for the country.

TD: Any advice for students who would like to get into a career in the government?

BM: When I was in the federal government and when I was in Congress, when I had an intern who was really sharp and good, and there was an opening that came up, they got hired first. 

TD: How you think the cyber security field has changed from when you were working in it? 

BM: When I was working ,  there was no internet. We were all working on main-frames and minicomputers… So the security issues were very different… It’s gotten much more complex. That’s an area where we have seen with Russian interference, and not just in elections, in every area. And with all countries, that’s the new warfare, it’s cyber-warfare. And we are paying attention. 

TD: Was there any way that you could have anticipated this kind of evolution? 

BM: No, no, not at all. I wouldn’t have thought that we were going to be quite this connected, back thirty years ago. I don’t think we could have predicted that. 

TD: In 2008 you won the House seat in a district that had been Republican for about 30 years, can you tell me about that campaign? 

BM: There wasn’t a whole long line of people wanting to run, because in my part of Colorado it was fairly conservative. I think number one, it was a good year. Timing is everything in politics, or a lot of it… and I really ran as… “I’m going to bring private sector experience to the house as well.” And that was a good strategy. 

Don Manzullo: Betsy said “It’s hard to measure success in government work.” Oftentimes you get the biggest victory and you can’t even talk about it…

BM: You’re absolutely right. I found that the most satisfying work… was your constituent work. The things you can do for the people in your district that really make a difference in their everyday lives. 

DM: You wonder why members that are Democrats that get elected in Republican districts and opposite–it’s because the constituent services… Cross-party lines, that’s not important. [Voters] want a person with integrity. 

TD: Where do you see trade and human rights intersecting?

DM: I voted for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) based upon the premise that the openness of China would help human rights. I was wrong… It’s horrible, China is going backwards in human rights. One would think, and this was my mentality at the time, if China becomes part of the WTO that it would open it up, so you could see more. Well, maybe it opened up more so you could see the persecution taking place…

One of the many problems with the Trump presidency is that Trump sucks all the oxygen out of the room; everything is about him and then the press follows that even to the point where Ted Koppel told CNN that they would be in the toilet in terms of ratings if were not for Trump… It’s not a matter of fake news, it’s just news other than Trump.

TD: Thoughts on Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing? 

DM: Ford’s life won’t be the same, Kavanaugh’s life won’t be the same, and it has divided people in America into saying, “well, do you believe the man or do you believe the woman?” That’s tragic that we would be in that position. I mean talk about dividing the country. 

BM: It has even further divided the country where there is already a party and a cultural divide, and I have alternated from being really angry and sad… In [my] generation we kind of just accepted that “boys will be boys,” and we swallowed it and we felt like we had to be tough. I have two daughters and I’m not going to do that anymore–it’s not acceptable. 

DM: It has been a male dominated society… This crap in the work place has been going on too long.

Do you think he should have been confirmed? 

BM: I would say no.

DM: I would say that based on it became a “he said, she said” thing, the thing became so politicized. But he was not the conservatives’ first choice.

TD: Why are you here today?

DM: Young people do not want to get involved with public service. They don’t think it is worth it… Know you always have to put the people first, if you don’t have that mentality you have no business being involved in public service. 

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An Interview with Manzullo and Markey