D’Esposito, Lawler, and Molinaro Bring Bipartisan Values to Washington

We all chose to run because we wanted to be able to get things done, not just on behalf of our districts, but the state and the country.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Just hours before the U.S. House of Representatives successfully elected U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-4) to fulfill the role of Speaker after a historically long vacancy, The Ripon Society heard from three serious-minded freshmen from the New York congressional delegation on their first year in Congress: U.S. Reps. Anthony D’Esposito (NY-4), Mike Lawler (NY-17), and Marc Molinaro (NY-19).

“I don’t think that back in November when the three of us were elected we ever thought that the 118th Congress would be the way that it has been,” shared D’Esposito in his opening remarks. “I think what’s important is that over the last two weeks, the New York delegation, especially the freshmen members, and especially the three of us, have really stuck together to make sure that people understand that our values and the values of those that we represent back in New York and back on Long Island are important.”

“I share that because I think it is important for members of Congress to really have a good balance between representing the party and representing our values, but also standing strong on what’s important back home. Because without making sure that the people back home are pleased and feel like they have a voice here in Washington, DC, we don’t come back.”

The trio of Empire State lawmakers all hail from highly competitive districts. D’Esposito is the first Republican to hold his seat in 25 years, Lawler defeated the now-former DCCC chair, and Molinaro had to go through the campaign cycle twice to secure his seat.

It’s because of this, as D’Esposito shared, “It’s important for us to work across the aisle. It’s seen in our committee work. We represent and serve on committees that are not partisan. We try to work in a bipartisan fashion to deliver back home.”

Before being elected to the House, D’Esposito served his community as a proud member of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and credits his time on the force as his “greatest education.”

“[I was] sitting in a car each and every day with men and women, different color skin, different religion, different economic background, certainly different political ideologies. My life depended on them, and their life depended on me. We got out of the car every day to affect change, and to make the communities that we took an oath to protect and serve a little safer. I try to bring that same thought process here to Congress. Sometimes it works and sometimes we fail miserably. But, nonetheless, we are working hard and, we’re working hard to deliver for the communities.”

Lawler, a former state and local politician, shared the unique outlook of a New York Republican.

“Coming from New York, a blue state, where Democrats have supermajorities in the state legislature, control of the governorship for nearly 20 years now, and have destroyed the city of New York with two successive mayors…We all chose to run because we wanted to be in the majority, and we wanted to govern, and we wanted to be able to get things done, not just on behalf of our districts, but the state and the country.”

Then making reference to the tumultuous last few weeks on Capitol Hill that would unknowingly come to a celebrated end just hours later, Lawler continued:

“There’s been a lot of frustration, a lot of infighting, a lot of anger, you know, the five stages of grief, but here we are. I think, hopefully today we will elect a Speaker. I think all of us share a sentiment that Mike Johnson is an unfailingly nice guy, someone who gets along with everyone in the conference and someone who certainly has respect among his peers.

“The reality is, personalities aside, we have to govern. There’s 221 of us and you need 218 on the floor. We don’t really have time to putz around. At this point, another government shutdown is looming and we need to get back to work on our appropriations bills. We’re going to need to keep the government funded and open past the November 17th deadline. We need to deal with aid to Israel. We need to deal with our border. We need to deal with Ukraine.

“We’re all going to have to put our differences aside and focus on the country. You know, coming from a district that Joe Biden won by 10 Points.

“We have worked together, and we have tried to operate as a team and be able to deliver for our constituents in New York.”

Molinaro agreed, and kicked off his remarks with a quote from native New Yorker, Police Chief, Governor, and 26th President Theodore Roosevelt.

“Teddy Roosevelt said at some point in his first presidential campaign, ‘America is the greatest republic the sun has ever shined upon. And we must act like it.’

“These last few weeks, and perhaps even the last 10 months, have really forced us to question whether or not we’ve lived up to both that expectation and that demand. For folks like us, our districts necessitate that we govern, and that we are engaged in our districts, and that we’re paying attention to the people we represent, [and] finding ways to work across the aisle. Not only do our districts expect it, but you have three members of Congress in front of you from New York, who inherently want to do that.”

Molinaro –who was elected to the Board of Trustees of his hometown at the age of eighteen, and Mayor the following year– echoed D’Esposito and Lawler’s emphasis on providing results for the folks that elected you to office, and the importance of local involvement.

“When you’re in local government, in particular where we’re from, you learn very early on that the decisions you make have real impact on real people. That when in local government, when the roof leaks, it leaks on Republicans and Democrats, and the job of government is to fix the roof. We’ve spent the last three weeks talking about why the roof is leaking [and] who’s to blame for the leaky roof.

“This delegation, particularly the freshmen from New York, we rely on one another, trust one another.”

“I came to Congress because I wanted to make a difference, for the people I represent, and to use my life experience to make an impact here in Washington.”

On a final note, Molinaro shared a hopeful outlook on what to expect on the House floor from here on out.

“Hopefully when we get past this moment in history, we will get back to living up to Teddy Roosevelt’s charge, that we not only deliver for the people we represent, but we act with the greatest republic, the sun has ever shone upon.”

To view the remarks of D’Esposito, Lawler, and Molinaro’s before The Ripon Society on Wednesday morning, please click the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.