Paul Steinhauser: Frank Guinta says new Congress will be productive
WASHINGTON - Frank Guinta's making a prediction.
New Hampshire's newest member of Congress told NH1 that the 114th Congress, which was sworn in Tuesday, "can and will be more productive" than the previous Congress, which was one of the most unproductive in U.S. history.
"The reality is New Hampshire wants results, wants action. So I'm going to work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that we focus on fiscal responsibility, economic growth, job creation, the things that people in New Hampshire are expecting from me and from this Congress is what I'm going to work hard every day to deliver," the Republican lawmaker added an interview with NH1 a couple of hours before he was sworn in on the House floor.
A majority of Americans may not agree with Guinta's prediction. A new CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday morning indicated that only 37% of Americans thought the new Congress, with Republicans now controlling both the House and the Senate, will be more productive than the previous Congress. Sixty-two percent said there would be no difference or that the new Congress would be even less productive.
Guinta was first elected to represent New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District in 2010, ousting Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. She defeated him in the 2012 rematch, and he returned the favor this past November, earning a ticket back to Capitol Hill.
Asked if the 2015 version of Frank Guinta will be different that the 2011-2012 version, the congressman said "I think you always learn from your experiences, both professional and the time that you've served. I've learned from being a mayor, from being a member of Congress. My focus again is going to be to work on issues that matter to people in New Hampshire, whether it's with a Republican or a Democrat, and the President of the United States, and try to be as accessible as I possibly can, even more so than I was in my first term. Those are the things that are most important to Granite Staters. That's what I'll deliver."
Guinta, who will serve on the House Financial Services Committee, said he's going to focus "on community minded legislative solutions for those who need to access better capital, families that want to re-mortgage, individuals who may need a small loan to start a business. Really try to get a jump start of an economy. That's really where my focus will be in trying to reform the financial services industry and make sure that the regulatory burden is not so over burdensome that it halts economy and halts business."
As for his other top priorities, Guinta highlighted tax reform, saying it's "a big one."
"I think you need to do tax reform. We haven't done a big overhaul since 1986. You've got to make the tax system flatter and fairer for everybody in America, both on the individual side and the business side. That will be extremely important. Trying to fix the Affordable Care Act is something I heard quite a bit during the campaign, so we'll focus on that. But also New Hampshire based things like mental health reform, the need to favorably impact mental health. The fishing industry, as well, in New Hampshire needs assistance. So it won't just be national issues. I also want to focus on New Hampshire based local issues," Guinta added.
Guinta could face a difficult re-election in 2016, which will be a presidential cycle with a larger electorate that would seem to favor the Democrats. Asked about the possibility of facing off with Shea-Porter for a fourth time, Guinta said 2016 was far from his mind right now.
"Today Morgan and I are the kids are just excited to be sworn in. It's a true honor to represent New Hampshire. that's where our focus is today. And my focus will be on serving the people of the 1st Congressional District," Guinta added.