A conversation with U.S. Representative Dr. Richard McCormick (R-GA) on the dire need for American businesses to be allowed to operate as independently and responsibly as possible
For anyone who has paid even casual attention to its activities during the past year or so, it should be immediately clear that political advocacy has become a major cornerstone of AAHOA’s approach. Accordingly, AAHOA has endeavored to educate members on the importance of engaging in the political process, and Today’s Hotelier has been publishing interviews with numerous government representatives to help AAHOA Members get to know these figures better and learn more about how they can engage with their federal, state, and local government representatives. In this issue’s advocacy feature, we showcase an interview with Representative Dr. Richard McCormick, who represents Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
WHAT COMMITTEES DO YOU EXPECT TO SERVE ON IN THE UPCOMING SESSION OF CONGRESS?
I’m honored to serve on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Science, Space, and Technology Committees, as well as the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. My goal is to keep America and her allies strong, our men and women in uniform safe and well equipped, and our technology, infrastructure, and research the best in the world. It’s going to be a busy year, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES WHEN THE NEXT SESSION BEGINS?
Our office will continue to prioritize our national security on a domestic and international stage. It’s important to provide stability for the American people, especially after the massive upheavals from the COVID-19 pandemic and the year-long conflict in Ukraine. These issues greatly affect the travel and tourism industries and their massive impact on the economy. Thinking outside the box, we should reward those who follow laws by streamlining legal immigration and in turn make it harder to come here illegally.
WHAT SORTS OF POLICIES – SUCH AS TAX AND REGULATORY REFORMS – DO YOU HOPE TO WORK ON TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY?
Reducing regulation and healthcare costs for both small businesses and individuals is critical. Regulation is a hidden cost to all businesses, and healthcare costs have risen dramatically during the past 20 years, and individuals have seen the brunt of that cost increase. These policies also must seek to reduce the burden on small businesses to cover health insurance costs for their employees.
WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT SERVING IN CONGRESS?
No feeling can match the history and solemn responsibility of serving in Congress. It is thrilling, but also sobering, because the eyes of countless American heroes through the ages watch you from statues and portraits throughout the Capitol building. “You have been entrusted with the future of the great nation we built,” they seem to say. “Don’t mess it up!” So, I will do my best to help hardworking American families and their small businesses, protect their country, and approach this job every day with a sense of duty and humility.
WHAT INDUSTRY (OR INDUSTRIES) DID YOU WORK IN BEFORE YOU WERE ELECTED TO CONGRESS?
I served in the Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot for more than 16 years with tours in the Persian Gulf, Africa, India, and the Far East and the Navy for more than four years as an emergency medicine physician with a tour as the head of the ER in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2016. I then entered private life as an emergency room physician at a trauma 2 hospital in Georgia. Serving on the front lines of warfare and the front lines of COVID have given me a deep appreciation for both the courageous Americans who serve their country in uniform, and those who serve their fellow Americans as doctors, nurses, and first responders. Every day, I dedicate my work to them.
WHAT LED YOU TO RUN FOR CONGRESS?
I was blessed to serve our country in the Marine Corps and the Navy, and later heal people in our community during a pandemic. I see Congress as yet another chapter, another opportunity for service. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw a lot of politics interfering with medicine and even business. I also saw politics affect the military negatively. No matter who you are, success should never be punished. That flies in the face of the American dream. Politicians and media personalities often try to control medical decisions between patients and doctors, dictating “the science” to their fellow Americans. Some politicians want to overregulate and overtax businesses or to limit the number of students who can enter a college because of their heritage and success. A big reason I came to Washington was to put a stop to this government interference to success. I believe it’s possible to build a society where every family can have health, prosperity, opportunities, and freedom. THAT is the American Dream.
WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT STAYING IN HOTELS?
Putting my seven kids in rooms that are NOT mine!
WHY ARE HOTELS AND HOTEL OWNERS IMPORTANT TO YOUR DISTRICT/STATE?
The hotel industry is vital to the economy of Georgia, especially for tourism and conventions in Atlanta and Savannah. Hoteliers employ many thousands of Georgia workers, who in turn support thousands of households. As AAHOA is well aware, Indian-Americans and South Asians are well-represented in hotel ownership and the hospitality business, and we’re blessed that many of these wonderful families live in Georgia’s 6th District. They are not only outstanding employers, but also pay a big share of taxes relative to their proportion of the population.
THE HOTEL WORKFORCE WAS ONE OF THE INDUSTRIES MOST AFFECTED BY THE PANDEMIC. DO YOU SEE CONGRESS PLAYING A ROLE TO SUPPORT BUILDING BACK THE HOTEL WORKFORCE?
Keeping taxes low and getting burdensome regulations out of the way is a big priority – not just for hotels, but businesses of every size across the country. I am particularly interested in protecting small businesses from shutdowns and layoffs in the event of a future pandemic or national emergency. Our government should be able to protect public health without putting people out of business or shrinking the workforce. I trust the business owner to make the right choice far more than the government.