Representative JT Wilcox is a member of the House Appropriations, Finance, and Rules Committees. He also currently serves on the House Republican leadership as floor leader. He joins us as a “Wire Insider” to talk about public engagement in politics.
“I always tell people, go out and convince your neighbors first. You know, it is not good politics, if you’re someone who is well known or has a lot of influence, to go to the caucus leaders and say, ‘I need this, make your caucus do it.’ First of all, they’re probably not going to do it. But second of all, that really creates the distrust that we’re already seeing when politicians go and do things over the top of the public. If you really care about something, go and help and explain it the public, change their minds, get them behind you.”
“Someone famous from my district actually said this: Billy Frank Jr., when I was first running I was having coffee with him one time, and he talked about the fact that the tribes were 14-1 in court. He said, ‘the governor will generally agree with our positions, we can usually get bills passed in the legislature that we care about, but none of this is really secure and it’s all transitory unless we can win over the people that disagree with us now. So, we’re going to try hard to make sure that the more the public understands what we’re saying, and explain it in a way that contributes to greater understanding.’ And to me that was very profound and something that people in the interest of being more efficient, have forgotten how to do because they just want to go to the top and get it done.”