The district that Nan Hayworth just wrested from the control of Democrat John Hall sits right squat in the middle of the political winds. In 1994, Sue Kelly won the seat over Democrat Hamilton Fish V when the Gingrich Revolution swept Washington. In 2006, John Hall won it from her as part of the Democratic thumpin’. Now, it’s Hayworth’s turn, as the wealthy ophthalmologist squeaked past Hall last Tuesday.
She says she and her Republican counterparts won–not out of any great affection for the G.O.P.–but because there was a feeling in the country that Hall and his Democratic counterparts were out of touch.
“There is the perception that this Congress is arrogant, that people aren’t being listened to. And they didn’t feel listened to by Congressman Hall and they certainly observed the behavior of Speaker Pelosi and the reason I think there is so much animosity towards her is that she had taken the attitude that she knows better than we do,” Hayworth said. “It’s not that people are saying, ‘Wow, we just love Republicans.’ It is that we want legislators to behave differently, and you are only getting one chance. And I fully understand and respect that.”
She said that the health care bill, which polls showed that a majority of Americans opposed, was evidence of the Democrats’ failure to pay attention to the will of the voters. She said it was unlikely that the bill would be repealed, and she had high praise for its goal of insuring every American, calling that goal “virtuous.”
“Everybody agrees that the intentions are laudable, they are good,” she said. “We ought to be doing these things. I don’t disagree with that at all. But the means by which we accomplish these goals must be different.”
Perhaps the real achievement of Hayworth’s campaign was clearing the field to give her a straight shot at Hall. Greg Ball, who just won a seat for the state Senate, had been running against Hall for a year when Hayworth jumped in. Others flirted with a race as well, but Hayworth ended up crushing anti-abortion activist Neil DeCarlo.
Now that she is in Congress, Hayworth says that her first priority is to reduce spending from the federal government.
“Our local economy has not improved with the trillion-plus that has already been spent with the stimulus and corporate bailouts of various sorts,” she says. Congress should focus she says on waste in the federal government and take aim at discretionary spending, military and non-military alike.
“We need to start thinking seriously about what can be privatized and what can be deferred to the states,” she said. “One of the challenges, is obviously, we are elected officials, so saying no to certain expenditures can be much harder than saying yes. But we have to have the guts to do it. I think there are enough of us coming in who feel that we have been charged with doing that.”