Heard on the Hill

Exit Interview: Rep. Randy Neugebauer

Retiring Texas Republican says Congress needs more conservatives

Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer says he's looking forward to wearing Levi's and a fishing vest. (Bill Clark/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.

Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer, 66, was first elected in 2003. He announced in September that he will retire at the end of this term, his sixth full one in Congress.

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

A: The people comes to mind. One of the things about this job is that I’ve met so many people that I would have never met before from all walks of life. People in my district, to people up here — members of Congress, members of Cabinet, people that work for industry, world leaders. The stimulation of getting to be around those people, that’s been probably the most fun part of the job.

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

A: Probably put on a pair of Levi’s. Before I came to Congress, I was in homebuilding and land development and I think I owned about two or three suits and I had about 10 pairs of Levi’s. Now, I’ve got about three pairs of Levi’s and a bunch of suits. So I’m looking forward to a wardrobe change.

Neugebauer was first elected in a 2003 special election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Neugebauer was first elected in a 2003 special election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

And then, probably getting time to spend more time with my family. I have a six-year-old grandson that I’ve been to one of his birthday parties and I’ve got a four-year-old granddaughter and I’ve been to none of hers. But getting my Levi’s on and doing a little fishing is at the top of the list — maybe [put on] a pair of Levi’s and a fishing vest.

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

A: It would be to have more conservatives up here. I think we’re a little short occasionally on votes on conservative principles and I think we’re at a pivotal time in our country’s history and the world history. We’re going to have to make some difficult decisions and we’ve been on a road here of running these huge deficits that I think are a threat to the liberty and freedom of future generations.

And I think we’re going to have to get back to that personal responsibility and personal accountability and those are conservative principles that I think will get our country on the right side. So, if I had a change to make, it would be to put a few more conservatives in the House and put some in the Senate as well.

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

A: This whole experience is a memorable memory. When President [Ronald] Reagan died, they brought him to the Capitol and he laid in state and I went over to the rotunda and I happened to get there at the time that Mrs. [Nancy] Reagan had arrived to pay her respects to her husband. That was when she was standing next to his casket, flag draped and she was rubbing the flag and talking to her husband.

I’m a big Ronald Reagan fan but it was a very special moment — people in the Rotunda saying goodbye to a former leader of the world, former president of the United States, but yet his wife was there saying goodbye to her husband. It was a memorable moment in the history of our country and I just happened to be in the room when that happened.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.