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Fox News "The Story" - Transcript: Rep. Raul Labrador: Disappointing we couldn't change D.C.

Interview

Date: July 6, 2018

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PERINO: That was a clip from the documentary the swamp. The series goes behind the scenes to show what's really going on in Washington and the swamp. It's exactly why Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador decided to call it quits. The four-term congressman decided not to run for re- election in 2018 and instead make a bid for governor in his home state but lost. He told Politico last month "I won't miss a lot of things about this place. I think some people lose their soul here. This is a place that just sucks your soul. It takes everything from you." Here now-Congressman Raul Labrador. He's in his home state. He's in Boise, Idaho so he's probably feeling a little better than when he is in Washington D.C. How disappointed are you in your experience in Washington?

LABRADOR: Well, I enjoyed my experience. I'm disappointed that we could not change Washington D.C. If you remember the class of 2010 went into Washington D.C. saying that they wanted to change everything about Washington. They wanted to change the way things decisions were made, the top-down decision-making process in Washington D.C. was going to change. But as soon as I got there, I realized that everyone just wanted to please the leadership and instead of representing their constituents, they wanted to represent the party. And I think we were all elected to represent the 800,000 people that sent us to Washington D.C. and to make the changes that we promised them. And I think that's what's been disappointing to people like myself.

PERINO: So do you think the problem was coming from the top down, from leadership down or from the bottom ranks going up?

LABRADOR: It goes both ways. So the leadership gets everybody to do what they want to do but the membership decides that they don't want to change things, that they would rather have the leadership make the tough decisions for them instead of actually voting on difficult bills or difficult issues on the floor. We -- we're OK -- I came from a state legislature where we saw bills die on the floor, we actually had to work things through the process. And in Congress for some reason, people don't want to see bills die on the floor so they want to be protected. We don't allow the committee process to work. We don't put things on the floor that are difficult to pass. And I think that's not the way our founding fathers wanted Congress to work.

PERINO: So, what do you think about the upcoming leadership race for the Republicans? You know, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California has certainly let it be known that he wants to be the next speaker. Would you support him in that bid?

LABRADOR: Well, I'm not going to have a vote. But I think I would only support any person who comes to the floor and says, comes to the membership and says they want to change the way Washington is working.

And that's the good thing about what we have now with the Freedom Caucus. I'm one of the founding members of the Freedom Caucus. And we have 30 to 40 members of Congress that have going to make a decision on who the next speaker of the House is going to be.

And I believe that they need to hold their vote until somebody determines, somebody tells them that they are going to be able to change the way things are working. That they are going to make tough decisions. They are going to let the committee process work.

And if you talk to members of Congress, whether they're conservative, whether they're liberal, whether they're centrist, they feel that they're not -- their voice is not being heard, that the process is not working for them. There is a lot of frustration in Washington, D.C. among the members in Congress. And I think they would like to see things change.

And I think the person who is going to be the next speaker of the House is the person who can make that promise and that commitment that they are going to change. And they are going to have to say specific things how they are going to change. You know, Paul Ryan said he was going to change things, but he did not say specific things that he wanted to do to change.

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: And he is retiring as well. You and the speaker will retire in the same year. Let me ask you what you would do -- what would you say to some of these young people on not all young but they are younger, the Democrats who are running sort of the upstart called the herbal tea party in a way, sort of like in 2010 when you all came in and said we want to change things, what advice if they want to actually change things from their perspective, what would have you done differently.

LABRADOR: Well, I think I would have done everything that I have done. I did not sell my soul. You know, the quote that you said in the beginning, a lot of people sell their soul. They sell their vote when they get there because that's the only way you are going to get into the right committees. That's the only way you are going to get fundraising help. That's the only way you will get your will heard on the floor.

What I would tell anybody who is going to be a new member of Congress is to never lose your soul. Never give up on the promises that you made to your constituents.

Don't go to Washington, D.C. and do one thing that is different than what you said to your constituents that you were going to do. Whether you are from the right or from the left, make sure you keep your commitment.

I'm leaving Congress knowing that I did everything I could to keep my commitments to my constituents, to my family and to my country. And I'm proud of that.

PERINO: OK.

LABRADOR: And I wish that more people would do that.

PERINO: All right. Well, I hope you enjoy being home in your state this weekend and we will be sure to touch base with you before you retire. Thank you, sir.

LABRADOR: Thank you.

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