Ferguson talks politics at LaGrange College

Published 6:11 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

Congressman Drew Ferguson spoke to a group of LaGrange College students Thursday afternoon, discussing the ins and outs of his role in Washington, D.C. as well as the challenges and fulfillment he finds in the job while attempting to navigate the bi-partisan landscape in the nation’s capital. Ferguson was introduced by former LaGrange Mayor Jeff Lukken, who worked with Ferguson when Ferguson was the mayor of West Point. Lukken detailed Ferguson’s success in the political realm.

“He was elected mayor of West Point in 2008 and set out with several guiding principles,” Lukken said. “I worked with him some in politics and he was a true leader and visionary. Drew wanted to make sure that he improved the education system in West Point, that he cut taxes, redevelop the downtown and he wanted to do as much as he could to end the cycle of poverty in West Point. He brought those same principles with him when he was elected and went to Washington.”

Ferguson currently serves as the US Representative for Georgia’s 3rd congressional district, a district that includes 13 counties in west-central Georgia. During his talk, he touched on a host of topics, including his thoughts on the importance of broadband internet, the differences between the perceptions of Washington versus the reality and his thoughts on the current national conversation surrounding immigration and border security.

Email newsletter signup

“When you get to D.C., it is very different than you might imagine it to be,” Ferguson said. “The conversations that we have in the House of Representatives are very different than a lot of what you see on TV. I bet your impression is that we walk onto the house floor and a WWF match breaks out. It’s not like that.”

Ferguson noted that more bi-partisan bills were signed into law last year than in any of the last 50 years.

Ferguson said one of the areas of focus for the House this year will be a bi-partisan focus on lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

“Everybody now recognizes that the cost of that final product is entirely too high,” Ferguson said. “We’ve got to drive that down.”

While also mentioning a focus on fixing Social Security and improving road infrastructure, Ferguson made it clear one of his priorities is increasing access to broadband internet in rural communities in an effort to ensure the economic gap between rural and urban areas does not continue to widen.

“One of the biggest infrastructure items we have to deal with is access to broadband internet,” Ferguson said. “If we don’t continue to expand broadband internet into rural America, we will continue to turn rural America into the nation’s next inner city.

“When you look at where poverty is growing the fastest, where education is struggling, where the highest rates of drug addiction are and where this is a lack of economic opportunity, it’s in our rural communities,” Ferguson continued. “All the success we’re seeing in other parts of the country are not getting translated into the rural communities, and the biggest factor is there is a lack of access to broadband.”

Ferguson also mentioned one of the more hotly debated topics of the moment in Washington is the recent national emergency declaration by President Trump, done in an effort to circumvent Congress and fund a border wall along the country’s southern border. Ferguson shared concerns over this strategy, stating he believes it sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

“It’s a real concern of mine,” Ferguson said. “What happens when there is a president that has a policy that I adamantly disagree with who declares a national emergency, and runs roughshod over the legislative process? You’ve got a broad base of folks that don’t think that’s the right way to go, because it sets a very, very bad precedent, and it takes power away from Congress.”

Ferguson added that, while debates can turn lively and intense, he feels the conversation taking place in Washington is overwhelmingly positive.

“You will always see tough, loud discussion on America’s important issues,” Ferguson said. “That’s fine, that’s what we should be doing. I want everybody to know there is a lot of really good work by a lot of really good men and women on both sides of the aisle trying to represent the country’s 435 districts.”