I agree —this time— with The Washington Post endorsement of first-term Democratic Rep. John Delaney (Maryland’s 6th District). Yes, he is “one of the most impressive new lawmakers in Congress” and a clear hope to break the vicious cycle of Congressional paralysis. And yes again —as The Post stated— “Unusually for a Capitol Hill freshman, Mr. Delaney has managed to make a mark and gain broad respect among leaders of both parties.” Congressman Delaney is a man of ideas, not an ideologue. Ideologies relate to doctrine, myth and partisan allegiance. Ideas relate to thoughts and human interactions that bring a course of action and change.
What follows is part of my recent conversation with Congressman Delaney.
—You are the only CEO of a publicly traded company serving in Congress. How do you mix your business background with your political vision?
—My experience in business gives me a deep understanding of the private economy in the US. One of the major challenges our nation faces is how to have economic growth and how to create jobs... And you are in a much better position to put in place smart business-friendly policies that can benefit a broad number of Americans if you actually understand how the private economy works. During my career I started businesses, I had to get financing for them, I had to get big contracts, I had to worry about losing big contracts, I had to deal with regulations, I had to deal with taxes... that’s the story of the private econmy of the US... I think that it is a huge advantage for me... thinking about economic policy which is where I am really focused.
—You founded two New York Stock Exchange-listed companies before the age of 40. Any advise to young Hispanic entrepreneurs out there?
—I love being an entrepreneur and I think we are entering an era of entrepreneurship. The world is changing rapidly and entrepreneurs are the people who are best positioned for change because they don’t think the world the way it is or it was, they think about the world the way it could be —in a business perspective... My advise for young Hispanic entrepreneurs is to stay committed to your vision but also balance that out with making sure you learn good management skills... and execution. Sometimes strategy is important, sometimes execution is important and if you master both of those skills you are in a much better position to be succesful.
—Is there anything happening right now in Maryland than can be a model for the rest of he country?
—There is a movement that I support... about making prekindergarten education part of public education.
—Does being the father of four daughters make you a feminist?
—It makes me really think about women’s issues... So, yes, I think I am a feminist to some extent... Yes, I stand up for total gender equality in this country.
Avendaño is Executive Editor of El Tiempo Latino