Two outgoing members of Congress, Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fla., and Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., joined The Daily Rundown on Tuesday to reflect on their tenure and also talk about their last duty before leaving office—trying to avert the fiscal cliff.
Neither Mack was disappointed or angry about not returning to Capitol Hill in January. Connie Mack referred to his defeat as starting a “new chapter in life.”
“The voters made a different decision,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “But I’m still very passionate about the same things that brought me to Congress in the first place and I hope to continue to stay in the fight.”
Mary Bono Mack echoed her husband’s sentiment, saying that she harbored no ill will or negative feelings.
“For the 14 years that I’ve served I can’t help but look back on that and be really appreciative that I’ve had the opportunity to be here and make my mark,” she said. “There’s no doubt that there’s a grieving period when you lose an election but I think I’ve worked quickly through that point and I’m very excited about my next chapter in my life.”
Bono Mack also reminded incoming Congressional leaders to focus on the legislating and remember that “every year could be your last year in office.” She urges them to leave their mark.
“The worst thing I’ve observed in new members is when they come to Congress they think they’re going to change the world over night so you have to give yourself the time to become a well-seasoned legislator but also recognize that if you don’t take your moment now and go for it.”
Her husband agreed and offered some parting words of wisdom.
“Be who you are from the beginning to the end. In other words, don’t let all of this change who you are as a person because one minute you might be a member of Congress and the next minute you’re not,” he said. “As long as you stand up for what you believe in and what is right, then you can either be in or be out or be happy.”
Mack is taking his own advice to heart, especially concerning his last pressing matter of business before he leaves Washington—the vote to avert the fiscal cliff. Mack told Todd that he would not agree to a tax hike.
“I have never voted for a tax increase,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the right way to go.” Because of the serious spending problem in Washington, D.C., Mack will not back down on his decision unless there’s something on the table about significant cuts to balance to budget.
Bono Mack, however, disagreed, saying that if House Speaker John Boehner presented a suitable proposal, she would agree to it.
“I have faith in what Speaker Boehner is doing,” she said. “I think he’s letting the process work.”