In this episode of the Rocket IT Business Podcast, show host, Matt Hyatt has the pleasure of speaking with friend and US Congressman, Rob Woodall.
Over the last nine years, Congressman Woodall has served five consecutive terms as the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. In addition to his efforts on the congressional floor, Congressman Woodall serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House Committee on Rules, and the House Budget Committee.
In This Episode, You’ll Hear More About:
- What it takes to lead at an early age
- Adapting and overcoming challenges that may arise in a leadership position
- How to innovate for future generations while preserving the rules of the past
- How to ensure the voices of small business owners are heard in Congress
- The special opportunities associated with the rapid growth of the 7th District
- The role Congress plays in STEM education
- Why community members should remain in contact with their Congressman
- How to look past personal agendas to ensure common betterment of those you serve
- How to persuade and inspire public opinion behind your efforts
- Best practices when working alongside people with opposing opinions
- How to take risks when under constant judgement
Matt Hyatt (00:00:00):
Hello, and welcome to episode 19 of Rocket IT business podcast. I’m your host, Matt Hyatt, and today we have the pleasure of speaking with my friend and favorite Congressman, Rob Woodall
Intro (00:00:25):[Music Plays]
Matt Hyatt (00:00:26):
Congressman Woodall has served five consecutive terms as the US representative for Georgia’s seventh congressional district. Additionally, Congressman Woodall serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House committee on Rules, and the House Budget Committee. Congressman Woodall, it’s a pleasure to finally have you on the show,
Rob Woodall (00:00:44):
I’m glad to be here. You know, usually when I’m with you, Matt, you’re always working hard or accepting an award of some kind. I feel like this is just social hour today. And so you may be working, but just know I’m, I’m feeling the social connection and I’m grateful.
Matt Hyatt (00:00:58):
Well, thank you. I am so glad you’re on the show. And like I said, we’ve, we’ve been friends for a while now. We’ve known each other for a good long time. And it’s sort of bittersweet for me right now because you’re winding down in the last days of your role as as my Congressman. And so how are you feeling?
Rob Woodall (00:01:20):
It is I guess let’s say like owning a boat. The day you buy it is the second best day of your life and the day you sell it is the first best best day. You know, this is an amazing job. And we live in an amazing community with amazing leaders. And, and so to, to have had this honor is is, well, I can’t put it into, into words. I just, I could not be, I could not be luckier but I’ve been doing it for for 10 years now. And it’s absolutely true that, that that different times require different different people. I think the time when when I came in with president Obama and divided government was was a good time for the, for the passions that I brought to the table. And I think we’re going to have an opportunity to see a brand new list of the leaders from across the country who were gonna, who were going to take that mantle and run with it. You and I will. We’ll both be yelling at the television at the same time as, as thanks.
Matt Hyatt (00:02:27):
Well, hopefully hopefully there’s as much excitement or good things to come. There’s that frustration things that would be nice. Wouldn’t it? Well, Rob, I’d love to just dig in just a little bit for those that don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where’d you grow up and how in the world did you find your path towards Washington DC?
Rob Woodall (00:02:51):
It is a story I tell to young people regularly when they say, Rob, how do I become a, a United States Congressman? And the answer is I’d have no idea. I can’t tell you about the, about that. I lucked into it. I grew up over in Dekalb County grew up in Avondale and went over to Marist for, for high school. And so it’s always been home. And in fact, I started studying this congressional district at Furman University as part of a political science project. When John Linder was running for this seat and lost in the, in 1990, when I was in law school, I was working in Washington for a law firm during the summers. And the truth is when you’re a young person and you want to make a difference and you have a chance to make a difference. It’s hard to go back and sit in the classroom.
Rob Woodall (00:03:49):
To the great frustration of my parents, I think at the time who thought I was going to drop out of law school and never go back, I actually left law school after two years to go to work for John Linder answering the telephone. I was able to finish up law school at night and graduate from the university of Georgia later. But the opportunity to feel like you’re making a difference, I think is something that’s in every single one of us. I see it in the work that you do on behalf of your customers and on behalf of your employees. And, and when you, when you find an opportunity to do that, you just can’t let it slip through your fingers. You’ve got to maximize it, and then go on. So it’s been it’s been a long journey, but but I very emotionally and spiritual
Matt Hyatt (00:04:32):
Really productive one. Well, you know, that’s really interesting. You so you were doing essentially a class project that involves John Linder. And is that how you got to know him?
Rob Woodall (00:04:44):
To be fair. What I found in my class project is he was a crazy, crazy conservative who had absolutely no chance of winning whatsoever and was running at that time. As, as you may recall, against Ben Jones, who played on the Dukes of Hazard, that was the, that was the matchup, but at the, at the time, and, and he did lose that race, but what it taught me looking back on that is all I knew about my elected officials was what the Atlanta journal constitution told me about them. And so I thought John Linder was a nut. I thought Newt Gingrich was a nut. I thought that folks who just had different ideas from the editorial board were actually a good versus evil kind of dynamic. And, and we still see that persisting today, even with all the, the media choices that we have, it is a constant reminder to me that I may think that I know something, but I really may not know something. And I need to surround myself with folks who have that experience and get some different perspectives and try to figure out what’s true.
Matt Hyatt (00:06:01):
That’s so good. I totally agree with you. And, and, and I’ve had that experience once upon a time. I was a guy that listened to the radio on the way in and out to work and get home and tick on the TV and watch the news in the evening. And quite honestly, that’s not a way to lead a life free of anger because you hear all these things on the news. And then once I started spending more time in Washington DC, and we’ll, we’ll get to that in a few minutes and getting to know some of the people that were representing me and my community, I just found that the reality was pretty different than than the expectation based on what I had heard and seen on the news. So it’s interesting that you, you sort of encountered the same thing. See, I grew up with my parents watching Walter Cronkite. You remember Walter Cronkite and, you know, I was peripherally involved. It wasn’t that I, you know, I was a kid sitting there watching Walter Cronkite, but it was running on the TV. And I kind of grew up believing that the media in my house mostly represented by Walter Cronkite was fair and balanced and and was just reporting the facts and not inserting their own opinions and biases into the news.
Matt Hyatt (00:07:29):
That’s kind of the impression that I had. And then that, that became very different as I grew up. And so I don’t know if the world changed or I’ve, my eyes were opened, or what’s happened, but boy, you sure see a lot of difference between what’s reported in media and reality.
Rob Woodall (00:07:44):
I will never forget Matt, a news episode. You may remember there were conversations going on and in, in, in Florida around politics and on one student campus, taser had to be brought out, and a student was tased and there was a local Fox news reporter on the scene and national Fox news was interviewing him. And they said, this was, was this just a terrible abuse of power there by the officer who tased him. And the reporter said, well, I can’t speak to that, but let me tell you what happened. And they said, well, wasn’t it just an awful thing to have to be a part of, and went on and on. And finally the reporter said, listen, I’m not the editorial board writer, I’m the reporter. So I have no opinions that I’d like to share with you, but if you want to know anything about what happened, I’m happy to tell you. Here’s a young person who was on national television for the first time in their life.
Rob Woodall (00:08:47):
They could have taken that opportunity to make it all about them and, and, and what they believe. And instead, and true journalistic ethics said, let me, let me just tell you what the facts are, and you can draw your own conclusions from there. I don’t know what we do, Matt, when, when facts become relative, Alan bloom wrote about value relativism decades ago. And we’re challenged by truth relativism today. And I do worry about what that means for young people growing up, and what our news consumption patterns are going to be.
Matt Hyatt (00:09:28):
And, you know, what’s interesting is with social media these days, I think that’s added to that trouble, because you can sort of pick your team that you want to follow and you know, spend time with and interact with on social media. And you may be giving you a very narrow view of the world through that lens, right? Yeah.
Rob Woodall (00:09:52):
The confirmation bias is available to us all day long every day. I can find someone to tell me how smart I am and somebody would tell me what an idiot I am. Absolutely. At a moment’s notice.
Matt Hyatt (00:10:04):
Yes. So you were working for John Linder and when I met you for the first time you were chief of staff. So tell us about that gap. Was, was that something that happened over a short period of time, a long period of time? How did it occur?
Rob Woodall (00:10:23):
They, I was on staff helping to write letters and conduct mail in November of 1994. So Matt, I was listening to the radio as the results were coming in, and suddenly John Linder’s best friend, Newt Gingrich became the first Republican speaker of the house and in 40 years. And I knew even though I’d only been on the job about a month and a half, that I was going to walk into the office the next day, as a young law student with a month and a half of experience, and someone was going to ask me to be their chief of staff. And let me put all of my talents to use. I walk back into the office the next day, no one did invite me to be their chief of staff. And it wasn’t for another six years that John asked me to be his chief of staff, but I had an opportunity to work in every single notch on the ladder.
Rob Woodall (00:11:16):
And, I think that every new member of Congress who’s not served before experiences, that you don’t know what all the rungs of the ladder are until you’ve sat on them for a while. The challenges answering the telephone call after call after call with folks who have real pain and real anxiety in their lives takes an amazing emotional toll. My interns always say they didn’t realize how many people called their Congressman and what they called their Congressman about until they got a chance to do it. So I went from legislative correspondent writing mail, to legislative assistant, helping to craft policy, to legislative director, helping to form policy, to chief of staff in in 1999. And I believe it, if I had served as member of Congress, somewhere in there, I would have been an even better chief of staff. Because once again, having not stood on this rug before, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And I wish I had a chance now to go back and serve John Linder again, because I’d be so much better at it now that I know precisely.
Matt Hyatt (00:12:33):
Well, I know how that works. We often have folks come through Rocket IT, and certainly there is an intentional effort to build people up. And part of that is putting them in different roles and letting them wear different hats for a season. And sometimes they’ll even switch departments and go from service to sales and vice versa. But that experience definitely builds a better, more equipped well-rounded professional. Right?
Rob Woodall (00:13:04):
Well, I’ve got folks on my staff Matt. I’ve been on a committee called the modernization of Congress. It’s a bipartisan committee trying to change the way Congress works. And we’ve spent a lot of time talking about staff retention and how it is. We help to build young people up and keep them in the system because you’re not going to get rich on Capitol Hill, not financially anyway. And so a lot of the conversation revolved around money, but as you know, from the folks that you hire money is falling on the list of priorities. It’s that work-life balance. It’s what am I getting out of this? What am I able to contribute? So I have, even though the average tenure on Capitol Hill is about 18 months. I have folks who’ve been with me for more than 20 years.
Rob Woodall (00:13:49):
In fact, I have many people who have been with me for more than 20 years, because we have a reputation of promoting from within. And because we live in a community where we really do get a chance to make a difference for people. And I just, I see the difference that you make, and I see the community recognize you for making that difference. I know that’s not why you do it. You do it for the joy of being a contributor. But I, I look at the young people who are struggling out there today, trying to find their sense of purpose. And I think, how much I wish for them, that they could fall into that opportunity where they could feel relevant, where they could feel like they matter. And once you find that the rest of it all falls into place.
Matt Hyatt (00:14:37):
That’s so true. Tell me, did you have any mentors or folks that you looked up to during that season?
Rob Woodall (00:14:46):
The staff members, one of them still is here in Washington, DC. I still consider a good friend of mine. His name is Henry Plaster, and he’d worked in the Bush administration and, and he’d worked all over Washington, DC. He was a young single guy when I met him. Now he’s a wonderful father and a husband, and on his way to being a grandfather because times change, but he embodied the joy of showing up to work every day. You know, there’s a negativity around the water cooler that you can find in some environments. Oh, it’s just so bad. Oh, work is so hard. Oh, we had to come in so early. Oh, we have to stay so, so late. Not that people mean anything by it, but it just becomes that conversation.
Rob Woodall (00:15:38):
What Henry brought into the office was how lucky are we that we get to come into this office every day of the week. That made a difference to me early on. And you combine that with John Linder, who I did not know before I went to work for him, here’s a guy who didn’t need the job. He was independently wealthy. He could have done anything he wanted to do. And so he did the job every day, not as someone fighting to hang on to their piece of the pie, but as someone who already had plenty of pie and could then help everybody else to grow their pie during that time. And if you didn’t like the way he did it, then you were welcome to vote him out of office, but he wasn’t going to put his finger up to the political winds. I didn’t really understand that there were politicians like that before I got here. And I would tell you that that shaped the style I have tried to emulate more than I ever knew.
Matt Hyatt (00:16:37):
I love that. I do think people have the impression that there are folks in Washington that are there purely because they’re hanging on to some piece of power trying to kind of grapple their way up the food chain, but you’re right. I’ve met a number of folks, and I certainly count you among them, folks that I think are truly trying to contribute and add value. And so I certainly appreciate you and your help there. I don’t think you told me. So at some point there is an opportunity to fill a congressional seat and you raised your hand and said that I’ll put my name in the hat. How, how did that happen? And was that when you were going through law school and learning about Washington DC and John Linder that had, had it entered your mind that early, or was that something that came in later?
Rob Woodall (00:17:38):
No, and I will tell you that being the Congressman is not the best job I’ve had. Being legislative director is the best job. None of the campaigning, none of the fundraising, all of the making a difference for people. It, it was not on my mind. The truth is Matt. When John announced he was going to retire in February, late February of an election year, I didn’t see it coming. In fact, we’d had conversations that led me to believe he was in it for the long for the long haul. And the filing deadline was early April. So there just wasn’t much time. There were eight people who were looking at getting into the race. And I was looking to see who I thought I could help to be successful. And the truth is much like the politics we’ve seen over the last six months, everybody was talking about how they were going to go to Washington and solve this big problem and solve that big problem and how easy it would be and why haven’t those other guys done it right before?
Rob Woodall (00:18:41):
And just send me there and everything will be fine. No one was talking about the casework aspect of the job. You know, I can’t get president Obama to agree with me on something every day of the week, but I can help somebody in their fight with the IRS can help somebody with their visa problems or their passport problems. I can make a difference for a mom or a dad with their veterans benefits every day I get to do something and success. It isn’t how do I tell 300 million people how to live their life with a new federal law success, it is how do I serve the people who sent me here? And my thought was, Matt, if I get in the race, it’s only going to be about 10 weeks long. I’ve got that kind of time on my life. I can, I can make this case about given my experience, how I know the job is supposed to be done and how you can do it better than you’re talking about it.
Rob Woodall (00:19:40):
And I didn’t need to win. I just needed to change the debate to talk about the values that I thought were important. That way whoever did win would, would lead differently because of, because I was there, it just turned out that I did win. We ended up in a runoff in that big primary and ended up winning that runoff. And then of course, I already had a team in place, men and women that I had hired folks I’d worked with for years, we were able to hit the ground running, not miss a single beat to trying to figure out how to get things done. And still, as I think back on those days, I think about the surprise that we pulled it off. Derek Corbett was running my campaign. He’s my chief of staff. Now he said, Rob, I always knew we were going to win it.
Rob Woodall (00:20:30):
It was just no question in my mind, but I was surprised that it was exactly right. And right now I’ve got to take the cases that I can’t close, The people I haven’t been able to succeed for yet. And I’ve got to turn them over to a brand new team, and it’s going to be a really hard emotional thing for me to do and hard for them. We’ve all invested all of this energy in getting to this level. And now we’re going to have to reset the bar. I didn’t have to give anybody that bad news in 2010 and 2011. And I still look back on that as being one of my, one of my happiest times that folks who were counting on the seventh district office to succeed for them, if they hadn’t succeeded by January 2nd, 2011. No worries. Because on January 3rd, the new office was going to come in and we were going to keep keep pushing at the same same pace together.
Matt Hyatt (00:21:32):
You know, what’s funny is I think you’re absolutely right. I think most folks are sitting back home and when they think of their Congressman or they think of Congress, they do think of a big group of people getting together and trying to hash it out on various issues and, and come to a decision. And I don’t think many people really recognize that a significant part of the job is what, what you call case work working with your constituents to help move the needle for them in their personal lives. That’s how, how big of a part of the job is that? I don’t think people know that.
Rob Woodall (00:22:08):
The truth is most members divide their office up into halves. It is in DC, working on public policy. The other half is working on casework. It depends on what your district looks like. If you live outside of Fort Hood department of defense, casework, VA case work may comprise much of your load. I will tell you, Naomi Pillsbury does leads that work for me. It’s the immigration work in our area. Folks who are getting married and their grandmother can’t get a visa to come to the wedding. Folks who have traveled overseas and they’ve had a problem with their paperwork, and now they can’t get back. Folks who need need passports because of the diversity in our community. Naomi and her team are the finest immigration case workers. I would tell you in the land folks, call from all around the country to get her advice on how to, to make things happen, because that’s where we’ve had to develop the expertise.
Rob Woodall (00:23:07):
So, because I’m a fair tax guy and believe that the IRS by its nature has so much power, that people run a foul of it very easily. We get a lot of IRS casework folks who said I did the best that I could. It turns out I did it wrong. And now I’m looking at bonds and I’m looking at penalties. How do I navigate this this effort? And we’re able to help with that. And again, it depends on the era. We were doing mortgage casework for folks, Matt, we don’t have any power over Wells Fargo or Bank of America. But when folks say, golly, I’m in the great recession, and I can’t get anybody to return my phone calls and I want to pay, I want to do it right, but I don’t know how to get in touch with folks. Even when it’s not a federal government agency, we’re able to help connect people to solve problems. Problems are bad, but to have worrying about problems is worse. And we’re able to partner with people and take away that worry. Maybe we can’t get them what they want, but they know they’re not in it alone. They know the person that was elected to represent them actually is their partner in trying to solve those.
Matt Hyatt (00:24:22):
Hmm. Tell me, once you’ve been elected and we have a brand new minted Congressman. What was the biggest surprise, Rob?
Rob Woodall (00:24:38):
You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it, man. And even as close to the political action as I was the men and women who worked on the floor of the Capitol, those members of Congress were still characatures for the most part from Fox news and MSNBC. I knew the GA members. I knew a couple of Alabama and South Carolina members, but Nancy Pelosi for example, was just this head that showed up on the, on the television. When I was watching the news. If you ask any freshman member of Congress, that’s getting elected this year, and they, so many folks got elected on the edges this year howling at the, at their respective political moons, ask any of those folks in six months, Matt, what their biggest surprise is. And what they’re going to tell you is they had no idea how good and decent and hardworking the other team was because all they knew was the political vitriol that the running joke on Capitol Hill.
Rob Woodall (00:25:51):
Folks will ask me back home, Rob, how do you work with some of those folks in that, they’re just such bad people. And my answer is no they’re not bad people. They’re absolutely wonderful people with really bad ideas. Now their ideas are just awful, terrible, terrible ideas, but wonderful people. That’s how that’s how partnership is created. And I would have guessed after a decade, as chief of staff, that I would have known more personalities that I wouldn’t have been duped by the media as much as as the rest of the country might have been. But I got behind those doors walking out onto the house floor. I realized that I still had misconceptions. And some of those folks I thought were the most awful to have to watch and listen to television, have turned out to be some of my closest friends, because they really are wonderful human beings, wonderful moms and dads and wonderful public servants, just representing a very different constituency than the constituency that I reference.
Matt Hyatt (00:26:57):
That’s so refreshing to hear from someone who’s worked in Washington DC, and, you know, in the halls of Congress to talk that way about focused on, you know, it doesn’t matter which side of the line you might fall on, but we can gain an appreciation and respect for the people on the other side of the aisle. That’s a really pretty wonderful thing. So I’m so glad you see it that way. Tell me, so you mentioned, I think you called it the congressional modernization committee. That’s not the only committee or a task force you participated on. I actually have a list here because I think I could remember them all the house committee on transportation and infrastructure, the house committee on rules and the house budget committee. Tell me about those and tell me , how does one get asked to participate on a committee like that?
Rob Woodall (00:28:02):
It’s a lot like choosing a dorm room in college. You got to look around, see what building you want to be in. Then you’ve got to get yourself on the list. And, and some things are a little bit harder. The waiting list is a little bit longer. I had the pleasure of working on the rules committee for Congressman Linder. So when I got here, I knew the rules committee was a place that I could contribute on day one. And at the time the rules committee was an exclusive committee you weren’t allowed to serve on, but one committee. So I bought picked rules right off the bat and, and have been there ever since.
Rob Woodall (00:28:43):
And they’ve allowed a rules committee members to expand and serve in other places. And, and the budget committee and the transportation committee were added a state delegations Matt to get together and work on these issues. Johnny Isaacson was our transportation committee member. When he was here in the house, when he left and went to the Senate, we didn’t have a transportation committee member. That’s obviously something that’s critically important, not just to the seventh district, but to the entire state of Georgia. So the entire state of Georgia, the delegation got together to support me to help me get a seat on the transportation committee in the same way that we all got together to help Buddy Carter get on the energy and commerce committee to help Tom Graves get on the appropriations committee as a delegation. We want to be the best we can be for the state of Georgia.
Rob Woodall (00:29:38):
And as I hear about more, as I’m sure you hear from your employees, it’s about that commute, getting in and out of downtown Atlanta, getting across from, from Gwinnett to Cobb, being able to focus on transportation because we’re experiencing those problems. And because we’re responding to them both at a County level and a state level in a very productive way has has gives me an out-sized voice on, on the committee. And, and I think that’s also something that folks don’t generally think about. It’s not that anybody thinks Rob Woodall is so brilliant though. I hope one or two people do, but it’s that they think, man, that district Rob Woodall represents is amazing. If it’s an immigration issue, Rob understands it and experiences it in ways nobody else does because his constituents educate him about it. As a state, we were increasing transportation taxes and taking ownership of those issues before. So many other States did that gives me more credibility to talk about funding of infrastructure when we’re not waiting on somebody else to solve our problems, we’re taking proactive steps are ourselves. So many of those committee assignments, you see our results, not just a member interest, but of expertise in the district and of what a state may need to fill out its portfolio. So that there’s somebody in every influential place on the Hill.
Matt Hyatt (00:31:06):
Do those committee roles change during your tenure? So, or is it typical that once you’re in you’re in and kind of stay there?
Rob Woodall (00:31:16):
Two answers to that, if you don’t like where you get started, or you want to get to a more exclusive place, then you may trade your committees out and move on up the, up the ladder. The rules committee, for example, didn’t historically take freshmen. It took more senior members. And I was lucky to be able to get in as a freshmen, but you can’t do it all, Matt. You have to develop some expertise. If you’re going to contribute here, they’re just too many hardworking people to think you can, you can do it all. And so I think the prudent members isolate their areas of interest as soon as they can. And that gives them the ability to develop the connections, the experience, the framework to make the most difference in the shortest amount of, and shortest amount of time. So you see a lot of folks on committees for years.
Matt Hyatt (00:32:17):
Well, I have definitely heard that the rules committee typically choose a more senior representative. So that’s a huge Testament to you. I think that that they will want to do on that committee and invited you to participate as a freshman Congressman. And you’ve been at it for a long time. I bet you’re really good at it by now.
Rob Woodall (00:32:47):
Well, I’m headed down to the floor, right? About two hours to do another another rule that, you know, you just get skin deep on the rules committee. You’re just not trying to write the legislation. You’re trying to perfect the legislation. And so we’re able to put our fingers in absolutely everything because every bill comes across the floor. Sometimes I think constituents get left out because they didn’t realize a bill was starting to move. And so they weren’t able to get their ideas into the base text, being on the rules committee, you can be the last one at the table, but if you have a good idea, I can still get that idea made into an order as an amendment and we can improve the bill as it as it moves to the floor. So it is the probably the least understood committee on Capitol Hill. But if you don’t mind being misunderstood, then it’s a wonderful place to affect public policy. And the laws of the land are better because seventh district constituents have had a chance to do that.
Matt Hyatt (00:33:53):
Well, speaking of the laws of land, I have seen you multiple times over the time that I’ve known you hold a copy of the U.S. constitution out of your pocket. Is that something you carry with you all the time or have I just been lucky to see you happen to refer to it?
Rob Woodall (00:34:12):
I spill too much food on my suits, Matt, to tell you that every time I get one back from the cleaners, I remember to put that constitution in there, but it is just so surprising. I think, to so many Americans that the rule book is really that short, right? And that you can really put it in a pamphlet in your breast pocket. And these are the rules that have led the greatest democracy the world has ever known. Our Republic is only as good as we are as citizens. And I have partnered with Democrats and Republicans on trying to press that civics education forward. If you feel powerless, you will become powerless. And those who feel powerful will become more powerful because your voice is being left out of the left out of the debate.
Rob Woodall (00:35:10):
It’s probably not as easy as I make it out to be as I was looking for some books to stack the computer on this morning, Matt, this is the copy of the constitution that I keep in the office. So it’s a little bit bigger than the breast pocket edition because it has all of the court cases and the machinations that have gone on over the years. But yes, to be able to remind people that they sit on the board directors of the most powerful country on earth. And that gives them amazing opportunities, but also substantial responsibilities is is something I take great pleasure in and pride in. So as often as I can can swap suits out of the cleaners, I will put out a copy of the constitution there so I can have it when the debate comes up, because it’s the Supreme law of the land, whatever issue we’re debating. If we can reference it in the constitution, that’s going to end the debate. Hey, Rob, why do people get to stand in the street and say all these awful things about each other? Well, let me turn here to amendment one. And I’ll help you to see why that is. We can change it if we want to, but this is often our most vexing problems have their roots in substantial freedoms that our framers believed were necessary for our Republic to survive.
Matt Hyatt (00:36:35):
You mentioned changing it. And you mentioned the first amendment. Tell me about that. So I think there are two schools of thought here. I think some folks look at the U.S. Constitution as something that was written by our founding fathers and it’s fairly static. And then there are others that think of it as more of a living document that should be changed and updated from time to time. What’s your thinking on that and what, from your perspective, is the right answer?
Rob Woodall (00:37:07):
Well, if you ever have any doubts you can look at our our neighbor, the largest democracy on the planet, our friends in India, and they rarely have a year that doesn’t have a change to their constitution. In fact, there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of changes to their constitution. And it’s only been around for about 60 years. We’ve gone the other path in America. We’ve made very few changes. In fact more than a third of the changes that were made were made in the bill of rights, that was ratified, almost contemporaneously with the constitution. I had breakfast with justice Scalia shortly before he died. And he was talking about his role on the Supreme court. We were talking about the right to privacy. As you know, if you open up that constitution, you will not find the right to privacy anywhere in there.
Rob Woodall (00:38:02):
There was no right to privacy. The Supreme court interpreted the constitution. They interpreted the fourth amendment and freedom from search and seizure. They interpreted passage after passage to say, Oh, well, there must be a right to privacy. We will enshrine this right through the courts. Justice Scalia would not have supported interpreting the constitution. In that way. He would have said the constitution is fairly clear, but having had the courts do that almost a hundred years ago, he would say, but we are not advantaged by yanking that pendulum back and forth that having some certainty and predictability is what the framers really wanted out of that constitution. So if we make a mistake, if we find a right that doesn’t really exist and it survives time, perhaps we ought to just leave it alone and come back and change it with a constitutional amendment.
Rob Woodall (00:39:04):
If we want to, freedom of speech is a good one. Matt, you were welcome to say something awful about a man’s wife in 1787, you had the freedom of speech. He also had the freedom to challenge you to a duel, right? You can say whatever awful thing you want about a fellow member of Congress. But in in 1830s, we had members of Congress killing each other in duels over those things that were said legally in the state of Maryland. And so did our founding fathers ever imagine the kind of hate speech that would be protected by the constitution today? Absolutely not. They had no idea. They would have thought a swift punch in the nose would have solved those, those issues, right?
Rob Woodall (00:39:56):
We have developed those ideas today. And I think that’s only right that our framers couldn’t have imagined social media. They couldn’t have imagined computers. They didn’t imagine being able to travel around the world at a moment’s notice. And so do the words of the constitution mean what the words say? Of course they do. Did our framers give us opportunities to make changes? And did they expect us to make changes? Of course they did our challenges is to make those changes the right way through an article five convention or a constitutional amendment process originate again, Congress rather than having our courts make those decisions in ways that are difficult to recognize as they are happening and difficult to change going forward.
Matt Hyatt (00:40:49):
There you go. I’d love to switch gears a little bit. Something that I never would have imagined growing up is that I would personally visit one of my elected officials in Washington, DC yet that’s how I’ve met a number of our elected officials. And in my case, we happen to have a very active chamber of commerce here in Gwinnett County. And I belong to that chamber and then active in the chamber. And as a result, I’ve gone to DC almost every year, except for this one for the past 10 or 12. And so is that the typical Avenue that constituents get to meet their elected officials is through a chamber fly in, or there are other ways to come back that are valuable and easy for all of us to reach.
Rob Woodall (00:41:50):
Well, it would not be fair to say that everybody has a chamber like the Gwinnett chamber. The Gwinnett chamber is not typical. The Gwinnett chamber is exceptional and the involvement is reciprocal, right? I am the great beneficiary of the, of the active chamber in Gwinnett County because people with real world experience, real world problems, folks who have proffered real world solutions are sharing their expertise with me that I get to bring to the, to the floor. So I could not recommend that everybody across the country join their local chamber of commerce. If they wanted to be influential, I would recommend that everybody get to know their member of Congress on a first name basis. If they want to be influential, lawyer member works for them. It’s not that hard to get an appointment. You just don’t know. It’s not that hard to get an appointment.
Rob Woodall (00:42:44):
And the folks ought to come and build that relationship if they believe they have something to offer. But what the chamber in Gwinnett has done in terms of building partnerships year after year after year, has again, made a difference in the laws of the land that gets that get passed. But if I was gonna make one recommendation to somebody beyond get to know your member on a first name basis, because if you know somebody, if you actually have a real relationship, it changes everything. If you don’t have a real relationship, send them a handwritten letter, nobody sends handwritten letters really, and I’m going to get thousands of emails every day. Many of them generated by a machine folks, check the box, send letter to congressmen. And they feel like they have done their part to contribute, but you can’t tell the difference in a mass email campaign of who really cares or who was duped by the way, the question was asked or who just did it because their daughter asked them to, and they went ahead and checked.
Rob Woodall (00:43:56):
That handwritten note, Matt says that you care enough to do things that nobody else does. And that’s how to get through the static out there. I will look at every handwritten note that comes through with the understanding that it took a substantial amount of effort to do this. So whether this person is angry or sad or frustrated or encouraging, they are feeling that at a depth that I’m certain of in ways that I can’t be certain of the type a word. I don’t mean to say that to the computer guru here, that digital communication is differently powerful. But if you ever wanna make sure you get on the Congress person’s radar screen, put pen to paper, and I promise you it’ll show up on their desk.
Matt Hyatt (00:44:50):
That was great advice. We’ve heard it all our lives, sometimes tongue in cheek. If you’ve got a big problem, somebody says, write your congressmen, but I love the underscoring of no, actually right to your Congressman. I think that’s terrific. Speaking of Gwinnett, we are blessed I think, to be one of the fastest growing communities in the US. I think we’ve been on the top 100 list for a good long time. I remember that being cited. The number of times over the past 10 or 12 years, that I’ve been active in our community. What, what are the opportunities and challenges that come out of a fast growing rapidly changing community like this one?
Rob Woodall (00:45:44):
Well, when you’re the first to encounter an opportunity or challenge, you don’t have anybody to learn from in that in that way. And so when I met time and time, again, at least in the metropolitan Atlanta region has encountered challenges first. And I’m just so proud of the way we’ve taken those on. We haven’t pushed any of those to the side, the the community and Gwinnett insists on taking those, those problems head on, but whether it is having the largest school system in the Southeastern United States, educating that diverse population of children is not an easy job. And yet we’re recognized nationally year after year for doing it so well. It’s a testimony to Alvin Willbanks as our superintendent and to all of our principals and all of our teachers. And truthfully all of our parents as folks move into our area because of our spectacular fuel system.
Rob Woodall (00:46:42):
But it as I hear it when I traveled to smaller counties across the state Matt, they look at how Gwinnett did it, and if it turned out great, they want to emulate that. And if it turned out not so great, they’re going to take a different path. We are trailblazers. And I tell all of my colleagues that my district looks today, the way America is going to look in about 15 years, whether that’s educational attainment level, whether it’s diversity and in business mix or racial mix you go right down the list. We’re just ahead of the game. In our part of the world, it gives us a great opportunity to lead, but it also means we’re kind of out there on our own sometimes trying to figure out the best path forward.
Matt Hyatt (00:47:26):
So tell me. I think most of my kids have had an opportunity to see you come visit their school. I know my son, Zach got to meet you once. He was still a boy. Is that a big part of the job spending time, running around to different schools and meeting with the younger folks
Rob Woodall (00:47:50):
Is it a big part of the job? The answer would be no. Do I try to make it a bigger part of the job that ought to be? The answer is absolutely, yes. If you’ve got to spend your time during the day with angry people who have given up or optimistic people who believe that the best is yet to come, you’re going to choose that optimism. And if I can start my day with children, my day is going to be better because children love the president of the United States. Whoever the president of the United States is they love the white house. They love Capitol Hill. They love America, and we want it. They believe you ask how many kids want to grow up to be president United States. You ask parents that question, nobody raises their hand, but you asked children that question, you’ll get a dozen hands in every classroom. I wanted the level of trust in our elected representatives to be higher when I left than when I got here. And I decided early on that, one of the ways I could do that was to get involved with young people. The young people historically have been the least likely to vote the least likely to participate, but in terms of a population, they are large enough now to move absolutely every the 18 to 24 year olds to move every issue on the docket. My walls in DC are adorned with thank you notes from children and artwork that they have made and pictures that we have taken and storybooks that we’ve read. Jesus knew that it was not a waste of time to spend time with the children, that is where the magic happens.
Rob Woodall (00:49:30):
And I learn just as much about the children’s parents in the questions that they ask. They don’t hold back. They’re completely transparent that it is not just an emotional boost for me to spend, spend time with great young people. It’s also instructive to me to, if it’s a worry that the children have internalized, you know, it’s a worry that the parents have been talking about around the family dinner table. So it might be a little unexpected, but it’s a very transparent look into the fears and the excitement that the moms and dads are sharing all across the district.
Matt Hyatt (00:50:13):
I’ve read that some of the things that your office has been involved in are robotics challenges, application development challenges. Are those designed to get kids involved in what’s happening in DC? Or is it more a, this is sort of the future for a lot of folks. And so we’re trying to develop young people towards those things.
Rob Woodall (00:50:40):
It is the latter. Okay. If you want a career in DC, there are certainly lots of ones to pick, but the truth is if I can get you to be an engineer instead of a lawyer I think I think we’ve succeeded in that, you know, the top 1% of all the engineers that graduate in China outnumber all of the engineers that graduate in America. And, and so I just can’t, I can’t chart a pathway for American leadership on the globe that doesn’t include having every single young person maximize their abilities. However they can in the same way that folks don’t know they can contact their Congressman, that they don’t know. They can just be the Congressman if they want to be the Congressman folks, don’t always know that that high tech career is available to them.
Rob Woodall (00:51:35):
They don’t always know that mathematical expertise is within their reach. We have such an amazing school system that offers so many opportunities. The teachers care so much. I just want to do whatever I can in a small way to buttress those efforts. And if it means highlighting the robotics team that was in high school when I began this process and is now in most of the elementary schools across the district, then these are good problems to to have, but again, you and I don’t live in a typical community. We live in an exceptional community. And many of these programs at the federal level are designed perhaps to give a child the only look they’re going to get the only inspiration they’re going to get in our community. It’s not the case. There’s so much opportunity, but in many other communities, it may be the only opportunity they have to be recognized as an app developer, for example, and members across the country want to want to participate in and play a positive role.
Matt Hyatt (00:52:48):
That’s an interesting perspective. It’s so easy for us to get so caught up in our own little bubble and believe that that’s just the way it is everywhere. And that’s not always the case. Well, I’m so glad that those clubs exist. I think they’re critically important. And I love that there are opportunities may be created in areas that wouldn’t otherwise have them. Well, speaking of which our producer, Chris wanted me to ask you about, I don’t know if he’s pursuing a different career. He wants me to ask about students that are pursuing a degree at a Naval, Army or air force Academy. Chris, will get a kick out of that. You know, he sees that he was running our marketing campaign here. So maybe he’s considering a different career. I don’t know, is that typical of congressmen to help students and that sort of thing?
Rob Woodall (00:53:39):
Yeah, it absolutely is Matt. And I’m glad Chris asked, because I put that in the category of things that folks don’t understand. If you’d ask me when I was 16, 17 years old, if the Naval Academy was available to me, I could get a Congressman to nominate me to go to the air force Academy. I said, no, that’s for that’s for rich people who know their Congressman that’s for these partisan people who, who go to all the conventions that’s not available just to, to me, that’s for that’s for other people, special people nonsense. What I have learned Matt over the years, in fact, last weekend is when we did our interviews for this year, we had 50 young people from across the district, come in and say, pick me, pick me to lead. We have over the years sent hundreds of names forward to the academies and have a long list of graduates that our community can be proud of.
Rob Woodall (00:54:39):
If you want an all expense paid college degree from one of the finest engineering programs in the land, certainly one of the finest leadership programs in the land, along with a guaranteed job, along with an opportunity to make the world a safer place, along with the opportunity to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Our military academies offer that, and you know, the kids who are applying today, Matt, they haven’t known a day of peace in their entire life. They weren’t born on September 11th. We were already at war in Afghanistan when they entered this world. And even in all of that, not just uncertainty, but certainty about the risks that they are taking on our community puts more people in the military academies than any other district in the state because our young people are just that good. So I would encourage everyone, even though I’m on my way out, the new Congresswoman is going to do things exactly the same way.
Rob Woodall (00:55:53):
It’s not a partisan exercise. Nobody wants to stack the military with a bunch of incapable packs. You want the finest people you can find to lead the country. And so if you have a great leadership background in in your boards clubs or in your church or in your community, now, if you have a successful academic background, not that you got all A’s every semester, but that you were working hard, you understood the value of, of the opportunities that you have and you availed yourself of them athletics matter. But none of those things are definitive. They’re all pieces of the puzzle. And then we bring those young people in Matt, just like every other member of Congress does. And instead of having the political leader say, okay, I want you in the Naval Academy. And I want you in the, in the air force Academy, we have an Academy board of of Academy graduates. You know Mr. Mike Murphy, Mary Kay Murphy’s husband Mike was in the very first graduating class from the air force Academy. Mike’s on our board picking the next generation of air force Academy, cadets. We have enlisted folks. We have educational folks. We want the very best that we can put forward. The rule is that we’re allowed to put one person in each Academy, but because our young people are so amazing, we send forward a list of four people or five people or six people. And the academies know that our people are going to be the best and year after year after year, we get multiple people into every single Academy. Again, not because I’m a rockstar, but because our young people are rockstars. If that’s a career path that any of your listeners are thinking about for themselves or for their kids, it is the least political thing that I do. And as a result, one of the most rewarding, if you’re having a bad day, come sit in with me, interviewing the young people who want to lead our country into the next into the next decade. It will it will give you great hope that our very best days as a country are ahead.
Matt Hyatt (00:58:16):
That’s terrific. Thank you so much for sharing that. I don’t, I really don’t think a lot of people know about that. So that’s good to hear. So let’s move on to a different topic for a few minutes. And the idea here is I think you kind of, you probably know this, I hope you know this. I think you’ve inspired a lot of people, and I think you’ve done that because of your approach to what would be considered a hot topics for a lot of folks, I would imagine it can be frustrating sometimes to try to work things out with a few hundred of your your peers and sometimes, well, we can just say it, right. Seems like there’s a lot of gridlock there. How do you keep your head on straight and keep your cool through that and how what’s the secret to try to work through some of those really big problems where it just seems like you can’t quite get to a different point of view.
Rob Woodall (00:59:28):
It is amazing to me that there are so many folks who have that same question and have been married to their lovely husband or wife for 25 or 30 years. That’s right. It’s not unusual to disagree with people passionately, but still recognize that they are wonderful human beings and that you have to find a way to work this out going, going forward. We use those same skills. The challenge is, and if folks want to know which members to cultivate relationships with at noon today, we’ll go into session and folks can speak for one minute on any topic they want to speak on. Some people will use that one minute to recognize a 30 year teacher who’s retiring, or a first responder who made a difference for a family and a life saving way to recognize a pastor or a young person for their accomplishments.
Rob Woodall (01:00:27):
And other people will use that 60 seconds to just rip the hide off of their political opponents and tell you how bad everything is. I can’t work with the people who want to use their 60 seconds of attention to tear people down, but I can work with anybody who wants to use their 60 seconds of attention to build people up. And I don’t need to agree my friend, Jim McGovern, who was chairman of the rules committee, a very liberal Democrat from Massachusetts. He and I disagree on almost everything. He wants us out of Iraq and Afghanistan for one set of reasons. I want us to vote on getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan for a different set of reasons, but we both share the desire to bring a vote to the floor on the authorization for the use of military force for the first time, since 2003.
Rob Woodall (01:01:28):
That is the secret, Matt. You don’t have to believe that your partner is right about everything. You just have to believe your partner has something to offer on the one finite issue of the day. And you develop that reputation. If your constituents will allow you to, there are folks who come from 90% Republican districts or 90% Democrat democratic districts, those constituents don’t always want their representative to be a good partner. Sometimes they want their representative to go burn the place down. I’m just lucky enough that I come from a district where folks do want to move forward together. They don’t believe getting half of what you want is losing. They believe getting half of what you want is winning and that you can go and get more the next day and more than the next day. I believe one of the kindest phone calls I received was from a liberal democratic Congresswoman in California, who called and asked if I would work on an immigration issue with her.
Rob Woodall (01:02:33):
And I said, listen, we have not met. I don’t know who you are. The Congress had just been been starting. I’d be happy to work with you, but why are you calling me? And she said, well, because I asked around, and I know if we’re going to get anything done, it’s got to get done in a bipartisan way. And I’m told that you have impeccable conservative credentials from the work you’ve done as the leader of the Republican study committee, but that you’re also willing to work with anybody on anything that you think is going to move the ball in the right direction. And I think I’ve got an idea that might, might do that. That’s quite a compliment. It was an amazing compliment. Matt and I’ve worked hard to earn that reputation, but only because the constituency in the seventh district allows me to, I hope you will take pride in it.
Rob Woodall (01:03:27):
Every single bipartisan effort that has been created in the time I’ve been in Congress, even whether it was a large effort or a small effort. And the Republican leadership has named me to be a part of that effort, because when it comes to reaching across the aisle, I have a constituency that just wants to get it fixed. They don’t care who gets credit for it. They don’t care what it takes. They just want to solve problems. And the more districts we have that look like ours, that elect people not to get their point across, but to make progress the better off I think we’re going to be as a Republic. The answer is not more congressmen like me. The answer is more voters like you, and that is what’s going to get us going to solve our problems going forward.
Matt Hyatt (01:04:20):
Well, you are very kind and very humble. I want to tell you, I’m grateful for you, and I’m so glad to be represented by you over the past 10 years or so that I’ve known you. You’ve done just a terrific job. I confess selfishly. I was a little saddened to hear that you’re retiring your position and moving on, I’ve been, you know, working through it over a period of time and I’ve come to terms with the idea, Rob, what’s, what’s your plan. What’s next for you? The revelations, by the way, I’m both being sincere and that I’m going to very much miss having you in that role, but also I’m kidding a bit. You deserve to focus on whatever you like. And I hope you’ve got great plans, and I’d love to hear about them.
Rob Woodall (01:05:18):
There is a fire that is required to do this job, and I am surrounded by men and women on my staff who share that fire there. When I announced I was going to retire was an opportunity for bipartisanship, with a Republican in the white house and Democrats leading the US house. I thought we were going to partner on absolutely everything and have a wildly productive, two years solving problems. It didn’t work out quite that way. COVID was part of that problem. And, and personalities were a part of that problem on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, I too am going to have to take some time to work out the disappointment of leaving things in an uncertain state. As I envisioned it, we were going to be in a place of much greater certainty and much greater prosperity, but that said, sometimes the country needs people who are going to partner and do things slowly but surely.
Rob Woodall (01:06:35):
Sometimes the country needs folks who are going to get in there and, and, and, and burn things burn things down. I don’t ever want to be the burn things down a person. And I see in primary after primary around the country, good Democrats and good Republicans being defeated because they’re not angry enough act at their opponents. I think constituents deserve what they, what they want. They ought to be able to elect any kind of representative they, they want to. But my ability to make a contribution depends on a Congress that wants to work together and get things get things done that had been coming increasingly less. So over the, over the years, John Bayner leading the house and Barack Obama leading the white house, had great success on very difficult issues, even though we didn’t agree on a lot, I am gonna go through a 12 step program to detox from all that partisanship, so that I will, again, believe that there are more people who want to work together.
Rob Woodall (01:07:46):
There are more people looking for the good in one another than not. But if we had a if we had a tag team Congress where I could trade out for a couple of years and then come back in and stay fresh, you know, just like on the football team, you don’t play both ways. You bring somebody else in to try to sort it out. I would love to I would love to serve, but I am. I’m excited for our, for our state, that there are new people who are coming in full of fire, full of enthusiasm. And I am hopeful that we’ll continue to have the same hardworking cohesive delegation that has that has defined Georgia candidly for the last 30 years.
Matt Hyatt (01:08:32):
Well, I wish you the very best with that 12 step program when you’re done and feeling great, come visit. We’d love to have you over at Rocket IT, and certainly hope we’ll stay in touch
Rob Woodall (01:08:43):
The, instead of trying to help with any problems that you all might have, Matt, I’ll be bringing you all of my problems to solve. If there’s, if there’s anybody that’s in the problem-solving business, it’s you all and losing my technical support team on Capitol Hill, I will need to hire folks who can succeed for me. And I appreciate that.
Matt Hyatt (01:09:02):
Well, we’d love to help you. Of course. So one thing that we do with every podcast guest is just ask a few questions that are pretty similar to one another. And so, in other words, from one episode to another, they’re similar. Tell us, tell us, you told us about one person that impacted your journey while you were chief of staff, but thinking more globally, is there any particular person that has really stood out to you as a role model?
Rob Woodall (01:09:32):
It sounds it sounds cliche, Matt, but I’m lucky enough that my dad was, that was that model. I lost him two and a half years ago to cancer. And you don’t always realize how much help someone is to you in your life until they’re gone. And we’re all lucky to have been touched by so many amazing people, but family is one of those things that you don’t get to choose. It’s the hand that you’re dealt and the federal government spends a lot of time trying to figure out how to help families be stronger. And we have arguably lost more of those battles than we’ve than we’ve won. But I, I had the, I had the great benefit of having a dad who was the man that I wanted to grow up to be. And if we could have more children who believe that very same thing about their dads then I’m sure that many of the things we perceive as problems in our country would be would be very short, very short lived. Having someone who loves you unconditionally in your life is something money can’t buy. And I wish that upon folks and try to provide that as often as I can.
Matt Hyatt (01:11:04):
I love it. Sounds like an amazing guy. And I’m sorry for your loss. Tell me what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your professional career.
Rob Woodall (01:11:16):
Everybody talks about first impressions, Matt. I would tell you that last impressions are critically important in transient job like this one folks come into your life for a period of time and they go out of your, they go out of your life. Sometimes when people are leaving your life, they’re more focused on the next opportunity than they are on their current opportunity. What I have learned is that what people will remember is not the first week that they worked with you, they’re going to remember the last week that they worked with you. And as you try to build that credibility, as you try to build that team of partners, and really, as you try to think about what your own personal work ethic demands of you, you absolutely ought to be putting in as much effort on the last day as you were putting in on the first day, if not more. And you sometimes see that in members of Congress, that they’re most productive, legislative years where their last too, because once they realized the clock was ticking and they weren’t going to have an opportunity to help any longer, they moved it all as fast as they could. I would tell young people, make sure you make eye contact, shake that hand, make that good first impression. But if you’re lucky enough to start building a relationship, make sure you leave that relationship on every bit as a high note as you started,.
Matt Hyatt (01:12:46):
That’s great advice, I love it. When you’re not curling up with the unabridged edition of the constitution and all of the associated paperwork, do you have a favorite book that you’ve read or podcasts that you listened to?
Rob Woodall (01:13:02):
I plan to become a podcast listener. I confess Matt that I’m not there yet. And I have not enjoyed fiction since I was a child. I get enough fiction in my real life here. The the book that I’m working my way through now, and I would recommend it to anybody who does not feel an optimism about our future as a nation to read ratification by Maier. It details the real fits that the country had in 1787 and the years that followed, trying to ratify this document that we call our republics framework. And time after time, it looked like all was lost. It looked like we were never going to get this done, that it was all going to it was all going to fall apart and people were bitterly divided.
Rob Woodall (01:14:10):
You know, we think of this as being this great awakening in America, but no, like any big change, it had its ardent defenders and its ardent opponents. And we have been blessed in my adult lifetime that we haven’t been challenged as a people in the way that the nation was challenged in 1787 to about 1800, but we may be approaching such a challenge. And if you need encouragement to know that it’s gonna work out as long as men and women of conscience apply themselves to it take a look at ratification and it hopefully will lift you up by knowing that the challenges we face are not are not really all that new stuff.
Matt Hyatt (01:15:02):
Rob, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate your time. I know you’re awfully busy. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation.
Rob Woodall (01:15:12):
It is my great pleasure. I don’t say this to to flatter you as the, as the host, but you are often the topic in our office. When we talk about civic leaders and how they get involved in all of the different things they do and the contributions they make, and folks who get recognized for some of those contributions and who don’t get recognized for others. If instead of being a lawyer, I had I had picked a business man and husband and father, I would want to do it the way you have done it. And when I named people for which our community is so much stronger because this family has chosen to live among us. I choose Matt Hyatt and the Hyatt family. And I’m grateful to you for that
Matt Hyatt (01:16:11):
Folks, I believe it’s time to wrap things up. Congressman Woodall, from myself and our audience, thank you for joining us today. To our listeners, thank you for tuning into the Rocket IT business podcast. Should you have any questions or suggestions on future topics that you’d like to hear more about email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, a quick plug for Rocket IT. We work with businesses, not-for-profit organizations and municipalities in the areas of IT support, information, security and strategic planning. To learn more about Rocket IT and its services simply visit rocketit.com. Thank you.