Freshman Rep. Roger Marshall, 56, a Kansas Republican, talks about his background as an OB-GYN, his alliance with doctors in Congress and Kansas State football.
Q: What has surprised you about Congress so far?
A: To me, it’s just the quality of the people, just the pedigree of my freshman class. Eight of the Republicans have military service, a Navy SEAL, an FBI agent, two physicians, a dentist, but their character is even more so. Even down to the staffers I get to work with. Very sincere hearts, genuine hearts who want this country to go in a better direction.
Q: As a women’s doctor, how is your perspective unique?
A: First of all, protecting women with health insurance. I don’t understand why men think that men shouldn’t pay for a woman’s pregnancy when (a), men are half-responsible, and (b), why then would a woman pay for a man’s prostate test?
I think, certainly, I understand issues like mammograms. I get so frustrated when the federal government tries to tell doctors how often women should get mammograms. I’ve had a lot of involvement with [the Women, Infants, and Children program], which is a nutrition program for my pregnant women, many of them are on it. So I’ve seen what works and what hasn’t worked and WIC is one of the things that has worked in the private sector.
Q: You’re serving with your mentor, who is that?
A: It’s Dr. Phil Roe, and he’s also an OB-GYN like I am, so there are so many things in our history that we have in common. We’ve been meeting every Wednesday morning, a group of the physicians, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. It’s kind of like a grand round — when you’re a physician, you have grand rounds once a month where you get together and discuss some of the complicated cases that you’ve been through. He’s in charge of Veterans’ Affairs, which is near and dear to every congressman, but since I have a military background, it seems to me maybe even more heightened. It’s good to follow him along and through this health care bill.
Q: You’re a big Kansas State football fan. How often do you think you’ll go to games?
A: We have season tickets. I bet we’ll get to three or four games. I have a son that’s there as well, so we get double the pleasure. We get to see a game and see my son at the same time. So many of my constituents are there, it’s like any football stadium on a Saturday, all of a sudden 50,000 people from across my district show up in one place so it’s a fun place to be.
[Take Five: Scott Taylor]Q: What do you like to fish and hunt?
A: I’ve never hunted and fished less since I started running for Congress. I grew up hunting and fishing all over Kansas. So fishing in farm ponds and reservoirs, hunting across the state.
We have two wetlands refuges and I live right between them. We don’t have the best hunting of any species, but we have the best variety of anywhere in the world. In a given day, I’ll try to help somebody get a grand slam and shoot four species.
Last books you read: Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” and [Texas Rep.] Sam Johnson’s “Captive Warriors.”
Last movie you saw: “La La Land”
Favorite song of all time: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” because of the Judy Garland-Kansas connection. That’s what my daughter chose for me as her wedding dance, I used to sing it to her before bed every night.
Role models: My mom and dad, my wife, my children. Ike [President Dwight D. Eisenhower] … he’s from my district.
Closest to in Congress: I would say it’s Phil Roe and freshmen in general. The doc caucus and the freshman caucus, that’s who I identify with.