Conversation With The Congresswoman-Elect: Wagner Talks Transition & Working In Washington
Representative-Elect Ann Wagner answered more Patch user questions and talked about the work being done to prepare as she's sworn into office next month
Visitors to 14551 Manchester Rd., Ballwin, MO 63011 will notice the level of activity there is not up to the level it was just a few weeks ago. In fact, the walls in the campaign office of now Congresswoman-Elect Ann Wagner are now barren, save for the maps she carried around during campaign appearances to explain the boundaries of Missouri's new Second Congressional district.
But while the campaign apparatus will wind down as soon as this week, Team Wagner is still plenty busy.
As soon as the Ballwin Republican's victory over Democrat Glenn Koenen was assured November 6, another campaign began, this time for a leadership position. She was voted by her freshman colleagues to be their voice with GOP house leaders.
Next up was getting a committee assignment. She ended up landing on the House Committee on Financial Services, which Wagner said is key for the St. Louis region, given that thousands of area jobs are tied to the sector through employers like Edward Jones, Scottrade and Stifel.
While she is staying updated on where things stand with the existing Congressional session a it pertains to reaching an agreement on the so-called "fiscal cliff"in the final weeks of a lame duck session, Wagner finds herself knee-deep in building her staff, even needing to make a trip to Home Depot to look at paint colors, and still hasn't tackled exactly where she'll live in Washington.
“I’m not going to stay in the office. That I know for sure,” she told Patch in a Thursday interview, noting that about a third of the male members of Congress sleep in their offices.
The process of setting up a district office has been more complicated given that she's taking over representation of a single district that up until now was represented by two members of Congress. After prodding the General Services Administration, which oversees things like federal leases and property, Wagner said her staff has been given the green light to get a look at what currently belongs to Representative Todd Akin and Representative Russ Carnahan's staffs, pick what the incoming staff wants, and return the rest to the GSA.
Representative-Elect Wagner said she plans to use what is currently Akin's district office located near Manchester Road and Weidman Road for at least some period of time, mindful that she may need to re-evaluate and reconsider given the geographic nature of the new district. She may also investigate a presence in St. Charles County.
Answering Patch Users Question
Several readers wanted to know how the Representative-Elect would handle the responsibility of breaking the gridlock of partisan bickering that has consumed our national politics while at the same time questioning if she'd be true to those who get her elected. Here's what she had to say:
"I think you can be a principled conservative and still work toward solutions. Compromise seems to be a dirty word but solutions is what I say. You gotta work together, we gottta get things done, there’s a reason why Congress has such a low approval rating because there is this sense that there are not things getting done... but let’s be clear here, while the President was elected with a very large mandate, we hold a majority in the House, and you know, we’ve got to be that check and that balance that insists if we’re gonna come to some kind of agreement on the fiscal cliff that its got to include the core of our problem which is this out of control spending and a serious discussion about entitlement reform so that we’re not faced with this problem again, and again and again," Wagner said, in repeating her election night promise of being someone who works in Washington, but isn't someone of Washington.
Wagner said she had not received any advice from Rep. Akin or Rep. Carnahan, although she did get correspondence from both. She added that the staffs for all three have been in contact, and that her team would be taking over constituent casefiles accumulated by the pair.