During his nearly two years in office, U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, has found that there exist too many members of Congress with big egos, unwilling to do what's right for the country.
Unfortunately, it's that sort of self-serving politics that is causing the gridlock for which this Congress has become noted.
But the freshman House member said he's optimistic that things will get better.
U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, stopped by the Sun-Gazette recently. Despite the Congressional gridlock in Washington, D.C., Marino said he is “optimistic.”
Never mind the soaring federal debt, the high unemployment and other woes facing the nation.
"I tell people these are problems, but we can fix them," he said.
Marino predicts a win for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and said that will be good for the country.
He said the former Massachusetts governor has foresight and proven leadership ability as opposed to President Barack Obama, who unlike Romney, has never been in the business world.
He's hopeful, he said, for Romney to win the White House and for Republicans to gain a majority in the Senate to bring about policies he and his party champion.
Marino said the economy is the topic foremost on people's minds these days.
"People are afraid," he said. "Will they keep their jobs? Those that don't have jobs are giving up."
The lawmaker said the natural gas industry has brought jobs to the region and has somewhat softened the crush of unemployment felt elsewhere in the nation.
Natural gas is a resource the nation needs to use, while other means of alternative energy still are being developed, he said.
Unfortunately, he claimed, the Obama Administration has assumed an anti-fossil fuel agenda.
Marino, noting he's an environmentalist, said it can't be overlooked that the nation is far too dependent on foreign oil.
He called for allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built.
But he's particularly upset about the nation's soaring national debt.
He noted that 60 percent of government spending goes toward Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Cutting the debt, he said, simply means whittling away spending.
"We don't have a tax problem," he said. "We have a spending problem."
The size of government needs to shrink, in part, through jobs reduction.
Federal agencies such as the Departments of Energy and Education, he said, are proving to be nothing more than drains on spending.
He said he's very "pro-education" but noted that the federal agency overseeing schools has done nothing to improve things.
Why, he asked, is the drop-out rate for high school students so high?
"Let's let teachers on the front lines decide what's best," he said.
He blamed former President Bush with increasing the federal debt by $5 trillion, and Obama with tacking on another $6 trillion.
Marino lamented that among all nations, China is our nation's biggest creditor.
Unfortunately, it's a country nipping right at the heels of the United States as the world's biggest economy.
Marino said American companies are being lured by offers from the Chinese and people from other nations with promises of generous tax breaks in exchange for relocating their businesses overseas.
But that's not all.
Many U.S. businesses already are struggling with over-regulation and health care reform.
"There should be nobody in this country without health insurance," he said. "But this 'Obama Care' doesn't do it at all."
Marino said he is pushing for various legislation to move the nation forward and bring about better government.
"One Subject at a Time" is legislation that would prevent unrelated bills from being rolled into one.
It would bring about better transparency in government and help put an end to the deals and trades used by lawmakers to secure votes for pieces of legislation.
Marino said one thing he's learned while in Washington is that people are very astute about what's going on in government.
But for all the downside he sees from a lawmaker's perspective, serving in Congress has its rewards.
There is not a better feeling, he said, than when a constituent goes to him with a problem, and he or one of his aides is able to help.