I think Michelle Obama is on the right track with her Let’s Move campaign to bring down childhood obesity. She and I come from the same state, Illinois, which is number four in the nation for obese children. One out of five Illinois children are considered obese. Not overweight, obese. And two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.
I’m not from a political family and didn’t grow up dreaming of being George Washington. I started working in 8th grade and have held every odd job possible – working in a gravel pit, weighing big wheelers, ticket sales, data base management – but I knew if I worked hard and got experience, I could apply that experience to my next endeavor.
I’ve had Republicans come to me and say, ‘Tell me how I should talk to young people!’ as if it’s some foreign language or something.
I used to be able to eat and drink whatever I wanted. But now, when I’m in a suit and tie all the time, sitting and being driven, you can just feel your body.
I take four planes a week, honestly. You know, I am for intelligence screening.
When I travel overseas on many occasions, I get pulled out because I may be buying a one-way ticket, I may be traveling with my sister and we have different last names. That’s smart profiling. Just pulling people out one at a time when we have millions of passengers in random screenings I’m not sure is the best way to do it.
I’m a big believer if you want to change people’s minds or get someone to vote for you, either a voter or a colleague, you’ve got to first get their attention.
If people don’t know who you are, they’re not going to listen to your message. And not everybody pays attention to politicians by watching Fox News and CNN.
When ‘Men’s Health’ reached out and said, ‘Will you be on the ‘Today Show’ and do a fitness challenge?’ I said, ‘OK. I’m not showing them anything they don’t already know.’ But I’m going to take what some would argue is a negative or not substantive and turn it into a substantive thing to hopefully do some good for people.
I hope I’m building a record of being a good team player and not just standing for my principles but being willing to work for them. I think when you do that and you work really hard, people take notice.
I didn’t start working out until college. But in college I could feel my body changing, and I knew that if I didn’t make some changes, I was going to go in the wrong direction.
Exercise is more important than diet for me because it’s a twofer. It keeps me in good physical shape, and it relieves stress. And when you’re a representative of the public, there’s never a shortage of things to do.
The biggest misconception people have about me is that when they see how young I am, they think, ‘Oh, this guy must have always wanted to be in politics; his parents must have been politically connected.’ I’m a finance major and always intended to go into business.
I got to know Elton John’s older music by learning to like his newer stuff. ‘The Lion King?’ That’s what I like.
My only personal time is a couple of hours in the gym in the morning.
I believe the House of Representatives is exactly the place where immigration reform should take place. Our entire House is elected every two years. We’re the people closest to the people.
Quite frankly, I think if a man or a woman likes their American job, wherever they were born, they should be able to keep that job. We need a clear path to citizenship for workers who are already here and a fair and efficient on-ramp for those who want to come here.
Obviously, exercise is an important part of my life, and I think taking care of yourself is an important part of every individual’s health care.
When you’re a politician, someone always wants something from you, so they’re constantly telling you how smart or great you are, and that can warp people! Exercising humility is important to me. My friends back home treat me like the same person I was when I was waiting tables.
Each year I host a leadership summit in my district, and my biggest advice to young people is get experience. Get your foot in the door.
When I campaign with seniors, it’s always, ‘Are you a Democrat or Republican?’ But when I campaign on college campuses, they ask me where I stand on specific issues. I think Millennials are much less interested in conventional labels. One thing that’s universal among Millennials is a distinct frustration with Washington, D.C.
In politics, you never know who’s going to die, retire, or – in Illinois – get indicted.
Everybody has a smartphone; everyone is a reporter.
Your belief system tends to be a function of how you were raised. Being raised in the Midwest and in a relatively conservative household, my views were shaped by my upbringing, by my Christian faith.
Good supporters who have single daughters say, ‘Hey, you need to take my daughter out.’ And it’s awkward.
We should make it so that young people pay their fair share for health care, and nothing more. And instead of Washington telling us what to buy, let’s get back to letting every American choose the plan that’s best for them and their family.
Hard work and a good education will take you further than any government program.
I have always had great respect for former president Mandela. The personal sacrifices he made in order to achieve what was right for the people of South Africa is something I carry with me every day.
Thank you to the readers of the ‘Huffington Post’ for voting me the ‘Hottest Freshman’ of the 111th Congress. It’s about time politicians from Illinois were known for something other than bad haircuts or having the ability to walk on water.
I don’t believe that we should limit waterboarding – or, quite frankly, any other alternative torture technique – if it means saving Americans’ lives.