Meet the Lawmaker: Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (R-Texas)

After a long night of votes, how do you unwind?
Rep. Rodriguez: This week and last week, it’s been cold, so I go home and turn the fireplace on. Since I live in Texas, we don’t get to see that that often. I enjoy doing that.

How many autographs do you sign a year?
Rep. Rodriguez: Actually, at home, a lot more often. I probably take more pictures than autographs. I just took about three or four out in the hall [outside the Speaker’s Lobby].

What’s the craziest constituent request you’ve received?
Rep. Rodriguez: Some will fly up here and they ask if I could pick them up in a limo. And I say, “I don’t even have a car.” At home we get all sorts of weird requests in terms of personal things that people want us to do. Someone reported to us that there was a dead dog in the middle of the street and they wanted someone to go pick it up.

Who is your favorite lawmaker of the opposite party?

Rep. Rodriguez: Right now? I work really well with Sen. [Kay Bailey] Hutchison [R-Texas]. I think she deals with a variety of issues that we work well on together and I understand that I can’t just get things done on the House side; I have to go to the Senate, too. And also Rep. Lamar Smith [R-Texas], especially when it comes to projects in Texas and its communities.

Have you ever had a near-death experience?
Rep. Rodriguez: No, but I had an experience in the 1980s where I started not being able to walk straight. And they thought I had an infection but they found nothing. Finally I went up into the hospital and they told me I was going to wind up in a wheelchair. They told me they didn’t know if I’d ever walk straight again, and I had a cane. They never found what it was, but just like it came, it went.

Have you ever smoked marijuana?
Rep. Rodriguez: No, I never have. I’ve only bought one package of cigarettes in my life, and that was in junior high school. But I didn’t like them, so what I did was I started giving the cigarettes to other kids. And that the end of the day I said, “What’s wrong with this picture?” I bought a pack for 50 cents and I was trying to act like a big guy giving them out, and I said, “This is stupid” and I never bought another pack in my life. And I never did drugs.