The Republican Party needs to bring a fresh perspective to issues like the economy and health care, Rep. Erik Paulsen told a group of College Republicans Tuesday night at the School of Media and Public Affairs.
Paulsen, a Minnesota congressman who represents some western suburbs of Minneapolis and is known for focusing on financial issues, shared his views on bringing new ideas and an "awakening" to Congress. Paulsen arrived two hours late to the event - scheduled to start at 7 p.m. - due to a late vote on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. He jokingly blamed his tardiness on "Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats," spurring a roar of laughter from the audience.
Paulsen began by talking about his own journey of how he became involved in politics and about his "door knocking campaign" that raised $2.8 million and an additional $1 million since he was elected.
He said his motivations to run for office included his desire to fix a "broken" Congress. He said he can do so by being a part of "a new crop of Republicans who are really trying to make changes."
"We need people in Congress who are going to be strong team players that want to see the team grow," he said.
One of the particular changes he mentioned included decreasing the national debt.
"We will borrow more in three and a half years under the Obama administration than if you go all the way back to when George Washington was president, through the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and all the way through George W. Bush," he said.
He also called the 2,000 page health care bill very controversial.
"It would have passed the first or second week of September had not the public pushed back so hard," Paulsen said.
In the future, Paulsen said he would like to see himself on the Ways and Means Committee, because the committee deals with a lot of issues he deals with in his district.
"Anytime [the CR's] have conservative speakers on campus it really helps to provide a different perspective for students," College Republicans Communications Director Rob Noel said, adding that "it is good to hear from the people who are actually in the debate and involved in this legislation and to hear what they have to say from behind the scenes."