Heard on the Hill

Exit Interview: Rep. Ander Crenshaw

Florida Republican recalls traveling with President Bush the day before 9/11

Florida Rep. Ander Crenshaw says the first thing he'll do as an ex-member of Congress is take his grandkids for an orange freeze back home in Jacksonville. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In January, 26 House members will not be returning to Congress. Some of them will return to their home districts for good while some will stay on in Washington for other jobs or to pursue another office. HOH asked several of them to reflect on their political careers and offer some advice and insight for the future.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw, 71, was first elected in 2000. The Florida Republican announced in April that he would retire at the end of this term, his eighth in Congress.

Q: What will you miss most about being in Congress?

A: I’ll probably miss the people and some of the important issues. Some of my colleagues, staff and some of the smartest people around are all part of this legislative process. I’ll miss the important issues like the ABLE Act that I worked on for eight years. We got a lot of people involved. I do a lot of things with the military, I’ll miss some of those important issues. But I think life’s about relationships, you miss the people and you miss some of the interesting issues we talk about.

Q: What do you think the first thing you’re going to do back home in your district — out of office — will be?

A: I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. I was born there, I was raised there, my family has been there for four generations. I really never left Jacksonville, and I got home every weekend but I work in Washington. So I guess, the first time I go home officially, no longer a member of Congress, I’ll probably take my grandkids and go to the Dreamette and get an orange freeze and see if we can avoid getting a brain freeze — that’s what we do.

Crenshaw shortly after being elected in 2000. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Crenshaw shortly after being elected in 2000. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Q: If you could change one thing about Congress what would it be?

A: I think Congress could probably use a good dose of tolerance and understanding. I enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds, different political perspectives. Kindness, tolerance, understanding — those things we could use more of.

Q: What do you think is the most memorable moment you’ve had in Congress?

A: I was with President [George W.] Bush on Air Force One on September the 10th, [2001] flying to Jacksonville, and we were talking about whether or not there was going to be a recession. There had been two months of negative growth. Just him and I on the plane. He was coming to do an event in Jacksonville. I was fairly newly elected. And then, of course, he went that night on down to Sarasota. I had to go back to Washington, and of course, the world changed the next day.

Nobody was talking about a recession, they were talking about something different. Florida is so important. I must had been on Air Force One a dozen times going back and forth to Florida so I would talk to him a lot. But, obviously, about different things after 9/11.

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