U.S Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen spoke in Mr. James Marino’s History I Honors class on April 11th, fielding questions on current and important issues. Frelinghuysen has been serving in congress since 1995; he is the chairmen of the subcommittee on defense, as well as on the board for the subcommittee for energy & water development and homeland security. Frelinghuysen’s main purpose for attending the class was to have an informational period with the students.
Frelinghuysen spoke openly about his political viewpoints, as well as his life as a husband and father to his wife and daughters. He spoke about his relationship with his family and discussed their effect on his political viewpoints. When asked “How do you feel about abortion in any context?” Frelinghuysen replied that he felt the right to abortion should be left up to the women carrying the child in consultation with her doctor and spouse. He continued that if his daughters were in that position, he would want the federal government to “keep its nose out of it.”
Frelinghuysen also responded in the same respectful manner when asked his opinion about the Supreme Court case decision ruling gay marriage constitutional. Frelinghuysen replied that although he had prior ideals supporting traditional marriage between a man and women, he believed the federal government should keep out of people’s private relationships. He later commented that he had voted to pass the defense of marriage act which states that marriage is only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, but has since then “changed” and now sees same sex marriage as a state issue that the federal government should stay out of.
For most of Frelinghuysen’s life he has been surrounded by the military. He was drafted into the United States Army in his early 20’s and served in the Vietnam War where he earned the rank of Specialist 5. As a veteran, Frelinghuysen is on subcommittees dealing with a wide range of military-related topics such as budget spending, ISIS, and homeland security.
When asked about Apple not complying with the FBI to unblock the San Bernardino shooter’s cell phone, the congressman had a well-educated response, portraying his views on protecting the welfare and public safety of US citizens. However, he also criticized both parties on their approaches to the subject. Continuing on about terrorism and ISIS, Frelinghuysen feels we have a leader who is detached from what is really happening throughout the world with the increasing threat of terror. The military was a topic he was very passionate about, giving his audience a feeling of reassurance that our government is here to protect us.
Frelinghuysen’s voting record shows him to be a moderate conservative. Like most republicans the congressman showed an interest in protecting the second amendment when asked a question about conceal and carry.
Another conservative standpoint Frelinghuysen conveyed was his views on protecting the border. He feels we aren’t doing enough to secure our border and that we should eventually implement some sort of wall or structure. However, Frelinghuysen also pointed out that Americans should be aware that Mexico isn’t our only problem with illegal immigration. Frelinghuysen wanted the classroom to be aware that there was no implication of an endorsement for republican candidate Donald Trump on his beliefs of border security.
However, unlike the majority of his party, Frelinghuysen feels Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is a respectable journalist and disagrees with the criticism Obama received for making the nomination since it is his right as President to make that decision. Contrary to that maverick opinion, he does believe Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was inappropriately handled and his family wasn’t properly allowed to mourn his passing.
Lastly, the congressman expressed his views on the 2016 election. Earlier in the election he supported his close friend and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, but ever since the suspension of Christie’s campaign, he has yet to make an endorsement for any of the remaining candidates. Frelinghuysen is going to remain loyal to the Republican Party but feels some of the candidates have acted “embarrassing” and “immature” throughout their campaigns. The congressman thinks the American people deserve better.
Frelinghuysen’s visit to the high school was a unique experience that was greatly appreciated by the students and staff alike.
We would like to extend an overwhelming thank you to the congressman for making time to attend the school and answering our questions. The less than one hour long period with the senator was insightful and enlightening. His diversity and respectful demeanor on political topics is one that helped to shed light on many important issues.