U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney was the featured speaker Friday night at the Peoria County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. The Wyoming Republican, who serves in the No. 3 post for her party in the House, did a short question-and-answer session with the Journal Star before her speech. Some questions and answers are edited for brevity or clarity.
Q: What's the message you think everybody needs to keep in mind as Republicans roll into 2020?
A: We really are very focused on making sure that we keep the White House, we keep the Senate, and we take the House back. I think that people are going to have a real choice in 2020, and it'll be a choice between freedom and continued economic growth and free enterprise and opportunity on the Republican side, and what is really becoming an advocacy of socialism in so many ways on the Democratic side. A fundamental choice between, do you want to continue to have the same kind of opportunity and choices that we've had, and the economic growth that we're seeing? Or do you want to see the federal government play a much more expansive role in all of our lives? We're really working hard to make sure we continue to have the kind of success we've seen in the last two years.
Q: Certainly I expect Republicans to run on the tax reforms, but what other accomplishments would you put front and center in the next campaign?
A: Economic growth across the board. And some of it certainly has been because of the tax cuts; some of it has also been because of the deregulation and the regulatory reform we've seen under this president. I think in many ways the regulatory reform may have had a larger impact on the economy. Of course you've got record employment and record-low unemployment, especially among minority communities — tremendous economic opportunity and growth that we were told wasn't possible, but now we're seeing in quarter after quarter.
On the national security front, the president has really put the investment in to begin rebuilding our military. We're in a very complicated threat environment, but this president is doing the right thing, and he's got us on the right path, and you certainly can't stop that now and turn that around.
Q: One of the things the president ran on was infrastructure. It seems as though there ought to be agreement there on legislation, but there hasn't been.
A: Infrastructure is certainly an area where there's been bipartisan agreement that something needs to be done. It's obviously an area the president feels strongly about, especially given his background as a builder. I think the key is whether or not the Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, are going to come to the table and work across the aisle and do what's right for the American people. We haven't seen that so far.
We've seen a speaker of the House who's absolutely beholden to the far-left radicals in her party. And by the way, (U.S. Rep.) Cheri Bustos is one of those people who's helping Speaker Pelosi implement this very radical agenda. Every Democrat we elect is a vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker, it means they're in the majority and we aren't. If you look at what they've done in the 100 days or so they've been in charge, it has been a very extremist set of policies. Anybody who's trying to decide what to do really needs to think about what their vote means, because it has a much broader impact. Don't just listen to what somebody like Cheri Bustos tells you when she's at home, watch what she does in Washington and watch the kinds of policies she's helping to advocate for there.
Q: It can seem like a challenge for Republicans to appeal to a younger generation. What do you think are keys there?
A: I spend a lot of time doing events around the country, and you can really feel the excitement. When I think about Republican women in particular, we have record numbers of Republican women who are thinking about running for Congress who frankly are kind of mad at this notion that the Democrats somehow have the market cornered. The Democrats have a really paternalistic attitude toward women. They say, we're going to talk about these three or four issues because we know those are the only issues women would like to talk about. And as Republicans, we don't presume that's the case.
I'm excited about the candidates, I'm excited about the young people who want to have a future based on freedom, not on socialism.