I always like it when salmon make it safely home. Oh, I’m not talking about the fish. I mean former Congressman Matt Salmon, who seems to have made it downstream to Arizona just fine after 6 years in Congress as a citizen legislator. Matt is in Phoenix now, running his own public affairs firm.
Last year, Salmon kept his term-limit pledge. He kept his word to the voters. His only regret is that there weren’t more citizen legislators in the ranks of his own party to help change politics as usual. About his time in Washington, Salmon says, “I thought I had signed up for a tour of duty that was really going to mean something.” That agenda included cutting taxes and regulations and balancing the budget. But according to Salmon, “We became the Seinfeld [Congress]. We were about nothing. We spent our time naming bridges.”
Matt is a man after my own heart. I was delighted to learn that one of my own favorite films, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” also inspired Matt during his time in the capital. The movie is about an ordinary, decent person, played by Jimmy Stewart, who goes to Congress to serve and maintains his integrity despite lots and lots of pressure to play politics as usual. Matt Salmon was determined that Mr. Smith would be his role model. He didn’t want to “become a machine built for re-election.” He says: “This place was not my reason for being.” Good for you, Matt.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.