Excerpt From The Interview
“Politics matter. We can elect people that make policy, but the people who make policy aren’t everybody in Congress. So it’s the old 80/20 rule. So I decided I wanted to be a part of that twenty percent that actually wrote the laws. And so I had decided early on that I was going to actually pass good laws and defeat bad laws. I wrote and passed into law eighteen different pieces of legislation to change lives. The Americans with Disabilities Act, plus about five other disability inclusion laws. The FHA Mortgage Law that freed debt up so that people could get a mortgage. Of all things, the East Texas Wilderness Act, which created the only wilderness designation in Texas outside of the desert up in New Mexico.
I went to senior members of Congress when I got there at 34 years old. I said, ‘If you were in my shoes, what would you do?’ And about half of them said, ‘Just get your newsletters out and have your town halls and get reelected and wait until you have seniority like me and then you can do something.’ The other half, though, said, ‘You can do anything you want to. Just set out to do it.’ The rule they told me that I followed was to get there early, stay late, and know more about the subject than anyone else. I followed the rule of civility, courtesy, and never giving up. As a result, I was able to actually change lives.”
About Steve Bartlett
Steve Bartlett: Mayor, US Congressman, Board Member, CEO, Business Owner, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Adventure Traveler, and disability independence advocate. His areas of expertise include disability policy, mortgage market, financial services, financial education, corporate reputation, public affairs, US Congress, regulatory compliance, elections, retirement security, health policy, global trade, and media relations. He is immediate past Chairman RespectAbility Inc, a national non-profit advocating for disability inclusion by destigmatizing disabilities through media, promoting full employment for persons with disabilities, and advancing access to education for persons with disabilities.
He has been happily married to Gail Coke Bartlett since 1969 and they are parents of three excellent children, and grandparents of eight beautiful grandchildren. Steve is an active adventure traveler, most recently Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011, Mt. Blanc Circuit in 2012, and boating the full length of the Grand Canyon in 2018. His 2010 Marine Corps Marathon time was 5:29.
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