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With GOP inching toward majority, Rep. McGovern vows to 'fight like hell' but also to collaborate

Rep. Jim McGovern is a Democrat from Worcester, Massachusetts.
U.S. House Television
Rep. Jim McGovern is a Democrat from Worcester, Massachusetts.

Results are still trickling in from this week's election, but Republicans appear closer than Democrats to the 218 seats needed to take control of the U.S. House.

Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Worcester and chair of the House Rules Committee, stands to lose his chairmanship with a GOP takeover.

McGovern explained how that would impact his ability to get things done — both for Democrats nationally and for his central and western Massachusetts constituents.

Rep. Jim McGovern: Well, obviously, it is preferable to be in the majority as opposed to minority. But whatever happens, I'm going to continue to fight for my constituents. I'm going to continue to fight for the things I believe in.

I think the one thing that is clear is that this big red tsunami that the Republicans, and a lot of pollsters and pundits, were predicting never happened. So if the Republicans were to take control, it would be by the narrowest of margins. And that means that Kevin McCarthy, if he is indeed the speaker — and I hope he isn't — but will be at the mercy of people like Marjorie Taylor Greene. And that's a place I don't think anybody would want to be in.

But my focus will continue to be the same. And my energy and my commitment to my district is as strong as ever.

Carrie Healy, NEPM: You put out a statement saying you were putting "Republicans on notice that we'll fight like hell against their lies, cynicism and anger." But if they are in control of the House, even by a majority of one, isn't some bipartisan work necessary to get anything done over the next two years?

Yes, absolutely. And I hope that they're willing to work in a bipartisan way — I certainly have been, as chairman of the Rules Committee. And Democrats have extended the olive branch to Republicans on many occasions. Unfortunately, they've been taking their marching orders from Donald Trump, who told them not to go along with anything.

It's interesting. We passed this major, historic infrastructure bill that means a great deal for Massachusetts. They had a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate. Less so in the House. We voted to lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and put a cap at $35 a month on insulin for senior citizens. I mean, if you do a poll, there's broad bipartisan support for that. Yet not a single Republican voted for it in the House.

So my view is you don't have to agree on everything to agree on something. If there's something that they put forward that I agree on, I'm certainly willing to work with them, whether I'm in the majority or in the minority.

James McGovern was declared the winner of Mass. 2nd congressional district.
James McGovern was declared the winner of Mass. 2nd congressional district.

You were reelected on Tuesday by about a 30-percentage-point margin and you were first elected in 1996. Do you have any interest in, I don't know, a different position — running for Senate? Maybe something in the Cabinet? Or are you in the House for the long haul?

Well, I certainly don't want to run for Senate. I think I'd rather stick needles in my eyeballs than run for Senate.

But the bottom line is, I'm happy with the job I have. I mean, I love this job. I'm grateful to the people of the 2nd Congressional District for believing in me and for giving me yet another term. I love this job, and I'm proud of all that we've accomplished. So I'm content where I am. I have no intention of going anywhere.

Massachusetts will have a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years. Do you expect things will be different in working with Maura Healey on issues related to Massachusetts, instead of with Gov. Charlie Baker?

Well, I had a good relationship with Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito, and I expect to have an incredible relationship with our next governor, Maura Healey, and Kim Driscoll as lieutenant governor. Look, my philosophy and my politics are more aligned with them. And I think she'll be a great governor. I think she will fight for the things that my constituents care deeply about, the issues that working families care a great deal about.

I've said many times that not only do I expect her to be great governor, but, you know what? She is a very, very good person. I'm glad that we have a good person who's going to be in a corner office, because we've seen a lot of the opposite at the national level in Washington over the last several years.

Again, we have challenges we have to deal with. We're still dealing with inflation. We need to continue to invest in our economy. We want to make sure the jobs of tomorrow are here. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and we want to be leaders in the effort to combat climate change, so Maura Healey will be spectacular in that regard.

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.
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