Congressional Hopeful Brent Roske Views Gig as a Two-Person Job
“Chasing the Hill” director Brent Roske is done playing pretend politics.
He wants to give the real thing a go.
“I’m throwing my hat in the ring. And, God forbid I actually get elected, I feel I could effect some real change,” the neophyte candidate, who plans to run for a House seat as an independent, told HOH.
But rather than swoop in and just assume he knows everything there is to know about life on Capitol Hill, the first-time challenger says he would love to find a way to keep his opponent, 20-term Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., around for at least a little while.
As part of his fledgling campaign, Roske is proposing to share power with Waxman — splitting the paycheck and divvying up work responsibilities both in Los Angeles and D.C. — under a pilot “2 for 1” plan.
“Every single person I’ve talked to in the entertainment industry thinks it’s a brilliant idea,” Roske said of the self-styled mentorship agreement.
Roske’s even run the idea by Waxman, who seemed more intrigued than insulted by the pitch.
“I appreciate his kind words about my work in Congress. I also appreciate Mr. Roske’s novel proposal and will think about it some more, but I suspect there would be workability issues,” Waxman told HOH.
The veteran lawmaker suggested that Roske might want to do some more homework before joining the political fray. “There is a misunderstanding, though, because I do not intend to run for the Senate,” Waxman said of his imminent future.
Assuming Roske is able to successfully best the well-known incumbent, he said he would serve as the official member while Waxman would shift to a newly created position. (Roske floated “former member,” “member at large” or “de facto member” as possible titles.)
During a predetermined transition period — anywhere from six months to the entire first term — Waxman would theoretically have to agree to show Roske the legislative ropes for all this to work. “It’s just an obvious shift of knowledge,” Roske said.
Meanwhile, Waxman could still get his civic jollies by catering to constituents’ day-to-day concerns.
“There would always be someone sitting in the chair back in the district,” Roske said.
A House Administration Committee aide said that for Waxman, or any deposed pol, to stay involved in a new member’s office, they would have to be hired as a staffer. Said “mentors” could not, however, handle voting duties — “one district, one member, one ballot, one vote,” the congressional aide stated — or otherwise portray themselves as active members.
Cutting out all the commuting would presumably allow Roske to focus on the media-friendly issues he feels Waxman has allowed to fall by the wayside — a no-no for a solon who presumably needs to cater to the entertainment community.
Roske’s to-do list runs the gamut, ranging from curbing runaway film productions (he’s co-hosting a campaign event about it with Save LA Film in coming weeks) to exploring a workable two-state solution to the polarizing Israel-Palestine conflict.
He’s also dead-set on keeping the campaign as above board as possible, vowing to fund the entire enterprise — and disclose every penny put into it — for less than $5,000.
Win or lose, it seems unlikely the “West Wing”-loving Roske will become disenchanted with Washington any time soon.
“I see a lot of good people trying to do the right thing,” Roske said of his experiences to date. “[And] if I win the office using these tactics, then it’ll be revolutionary.”