Scott Perry, first term Republican Congressman for the Pennsylvania 4th District, said it was a bit overwhelming and humbling to take the oath of office.
A former Pennsylvania House Representative from Dillsburg, Perry, 50, is a businessman and a colonel in command of the 166th Regiment of the Pa. Army National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap. While commander of the 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion, he served in Iraq from January 2009 to January 2010.
Perry said that since assuming his new role in Congress, he has been appointed to serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees. All three committees provide vital services to the country, he said.
“It’s really overwhelming from the standpoint of knowing that you are walking in the same steps in the Capitol Building that many of the forefathers, who fashioned the nation, literally walked before you,” Perry said. “It is profound and it’s exceptionally humbling.”
Noting that one of the hardest and most frustrating aspects of coming to Washington as a first-term congressman, Perry said that he “was chomping at the bit” to get started with duties. It wasn’t until January 3, when he was sworn in, that he could get down to business.
Then it was a maddening rush to get his staff in place, his office set up and to begin work on the myriad tasks, including learning the ropes of Congress, Perry said. It can be overwhelming from an administrative standpoint, he added.
The freshman congressman said he is attuned to the weight of history that accompanies the job. Holding a congressional seat carries the opportunity to touch people’s lives significant, meaningful ways, Perry said.
“Another side of that equation, is that you can fall short too,” Perry said. “I think that for anyone who wants to do a great job and do what their supporters asked them for in this arena, has a fear of failure, and of falling short.”
Perry said elected officials have the duty to represent, first and foremost, their district, as well as the state and the nation. That requires learning about the issues, understanding the facts and then acting in a way that benefits everyone.
“Take each one on face value, within the time given and the information given, then make the best judgment and best decision you can for the current times and for posterity,” Perry said. “None of these decisions are easy. All the problems and challenges are complex and there is often things that are unpalatable, but at the same time there are provisions in each bill you may like. There will be some people in the district who agree with you and others who disagree with you on your vote.”
Perry intends to follow his conscience, whether or not it follows Republican party lines. While he finds the most agreement with Republican policies concerning fiscal issues, Perry said this week he voted against party leadership on the relief package for Hurricane Sandy victims.
“I have to do what my heart and head tells me, based on the information at the time,” Perry said. “I want to make the best decision overall on specific issues.”
Perry said he expects that the first 120 days of the session will be challenging. Among the issues to be debated are gun-control, the budget deficit ceiling, controlling spending and many other challenging issues.
“There are going to be very difficult choices for a lot of us,” Perry said. “That is why it is important to have a vision and have a strong foundation on which to evaluate what is in front of us.”