The Ripon Forum

Volume 51, No. 6

December 2017

Ripon Profile of Nan Hayworth

By on December 7, 2017

…from the Summer 2011 edition:

Name: The Honorable Nan Hayworth, M.D.

Office: Member of Congress, 19th District of New York

Before entering politics, you were an ophthalmologist. Was it difficult transitioning from a profession with very precise solutions to a profession where solutions are often hard to come by and anything but precise? Medicine is a servant profession in which one has to listen carefully to the patient, develop a shared understanding of the problem at hand, and craft a solution that will work for all concerned. It’s thus quite similar to being a Representative — though there’s clearly a big difference in scale and scope, which makes Congress all the more challenging, and I welcome that.

On your Facebook page, you say you are a fan of the comedian and film producer Mel Brooks? Which Mel Brooks movie does Congress resemble most? Remember in “Blazing Saddles” when they erect the toll booth in the middle of the desert and the guys riding toward it actually go back to get dimes instead of just going around the barrier in the wide-open space on either side? No common sense. That’s how the federal government was run by the last Congress, and that’s what we’re fighting in this Congress.

You’ve been in office now for nearly eight months. What has surprised you most about the job? I had only limited specific notions about what serving in Congress would be like, so there haven’t been surprises as much as there have been realizations. The best one is that Washington does have a lot of people with good minds and hearts who are doing their best to serve the public  honorably, and that’s a great positive that we can build on.

What’s been the toughest vote you have cast so far, and how did you explain it to your constituents back home? Voting to increase the debt ceiling was the toughest, and I began explaining the grim necessity, and the reasons for it, back in January. The constituents I serve expect the federal government to live within its means, just as they do, and therefore I also emphasize that we’re working to bring deficit spending down now and for the future.

When you leave office – whether it be at the end of your current term or at the end of another term somewhere down the road – what do you hope your greatest accomplishment will be?  To have served the citizens of New York’s 19th District, and of the nation, honorably and well; to have modeled–despite all obstacles!–the kind of positive and constructive behavior that will transform our politics from its current sorry state of polarization, vitriol, and class warfare.

Finally, a question close to home: you live the historic town of Bedford, about an hour north of New York City. If people were going to visit your District this Fall, what three things would you encourage them to do and see?  Ride along the designated Scenic Road through Bedford, which was founded in 1680, and savor the village’s historic charm; drive north along the Hudson through Putnam and Dutchess Counties and stop for a kayak ride from Beacon’s new Long Dock Park; then head west through Orange County to see West Point and stop in our Black Dirt region for some great local food.

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