Freshman Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) told students Wednesday night that he originally wanted to be a professional baseball player. When that did not work out, he decided to study journalism at Ohio State University hoping to cover Major League Baseball for Sports Illustrated.
His plans changed last November when voters elected Tiberi to represent Ohio’s 12th District. Four months after taking his oath, the College Republicans welcomed Tiberi to Funger Hall to hear of his journey to Congress.
Growing up in a blue-collar, immigrant family, Tiberi first registered as a Democrat. After meeting retired Rep. John Kasich (R-Ohio), his previous conception of Republicans as people who are only “white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and rich” changed.
“When I first walked into Kasich’s office, a Sports Illustrated and AC/DC cassette were on his coffee table, and I realized this guy was a lot like me,” Tiberi said. “That’s when my image of Republicans changed.”
After working in state politics and real estate, Tiberi ran for a congressional seat.
“Knowing I had to raise a million dollars, I thought long and hard about it. In retrospect, after having to raise $2.5 million, I might have thought harder,” Tiberi said jokingly.
Tiberi highlighted his opposition to the McCain-Feingold bill, which aims to reform campaign finance by prohibiting soft-money contributions. Although a group in Kansas used $1 million in soft money to air false commercials against Tiberi, he said he still opposes the bill. Tiberi also discussed President George W. Bush’s education proposal and foreign policy in China.
He also said it takes more effort to get things done in national politics than in state politics.
“(Congress) is really, really hard,” Tiberi said. “As a state legislator, you knew what was going on and what was happening in the long run. In Congress, I am convinced that even the leaders don’t know what’s going on.”
Erik Yassenof, CR director of operations, said the event was helpful to students who want to “follow in his footsteps.”
“It was very informative in two respects. One, how did he get to Congress and two, what’s going on in current legislation,” Yassenof said.