Capitol Report Q&A: Rep. Eric Proctor
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Sunday, March 03, 2013
3/03/13 at 3:01 AM
Occupation: Legislator, private community college teacher.
Family: Married to Tara, a Republican.
Do you talk politics at home?: "No. Very rarely."
Tenure: Beginning his seventh year in the state House.
As of right now, none of the seven bills you introduced this year have made it out of committee, right?
House Bill 1062 is the one I'm most frustrated about not getting a hearing. It was requested by Marine Corps Sgt. Shane Hannaford to encourage companies that get quality job tax credits to hire military veterans. Sgt. Hannaford requested an opportunity to speak to the committee, and he was denied an opportunity to speak (and) his bill was refused a hearing, which was frustrating. He's got two purple hearts - and he's served seven (tours) in Iraq - and he deserved an opportunity to have his voice heard.
Was it just a partisan issue?
I think it was a partisan issue. It was a bipartisan bill. It was supported by the governor's Secretary of Military Affairs, Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, and I had a Republican Senate author ... and had Republican co-authors. ... Sgt. Hannaford is a Republican. So, it was a bipartisan bill. But I think it was a situation of partisanship combined with special interest groups that didn't want it heard, that wanted to protect their tax credits from any intrusion.
What's the secret for Democrats to stay energetic in the Legislature when the numbers are stacked against them pretty heavily?
We have a very important constitutional role ... we have the role of making sure the Capitol, the Legislature, is accountable to the people. We are the eyes, ears and the conscience of the building. ... The trouble with one-party rule is often accountability gets pushed aside.
Are there any things you used to teach in your high school government classes that you now realize were a little naive?
...What I believe is that no party has a monopoly on good or bad ideas. When only one party's views are heard, you're missing out on a lot of potentially good policies. ... I taught my students that we live in a republic, which is government by the people, but unfortunately, at the state Capitol, it's turning out it's government by the special interest groups.
Is there anything you're dying to say, that I haven't asked the right question to elicit?
One thing I really am proud of is my constituent work in the district and my constituents' ability to reach me. Everything I send out has my personal cellphone number on it, and I have a very, very good relationship with the district. I'm accessible and have an open-door policy."