Politics

TheDC Interview: Republican New York congressional candidate Michael Grimm

A former Gulf War Marine and an FBI undercover agent on Wall Street, Michael Grimm is fighting once again, this time to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican is challenging Rep. Michael McMahon, a one-term Democratic incumbent in New York’s 13th Congressional District, which includes Staten Island and parts of Southwest Brooklyn. It’s the only House race that’s not considered a shoe-in for Democrats in New York City, according to The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight forecasts.

According to Politico, the National Republican Congressional Committee plans to pump $90,000, the maximum in coordinated funds, to help Grimm’s campaign in the final leg of the race. The candidate, a favorite among Tea Party supporters in the district, campaigns heavily on strengthening national security and reducing taxes.

The Daily Caller caught up with Grimm Wednesday while out on the campaign trail in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn:

TheDC: You’ve had a diverse background thus far in your career, with experience in the military, the FBI and in the private sector as a small business owner. What led you to politics, and when did you decide to run?

Michael Grimm (MG): Really what led me to politics was frustration and a little bit of anger with the way the direction of this country is headed. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines and just complain. I’ve never been a complainer. I’ve always been a doer. If I see something that needs to be fixed, I just go and I fix it. That’s a big part of the reason why I joined the Marines. It’s one of the reasons I joined the FBI, because I like to be part of something I believe in, where I can make a difference and I can be effective.

What made me decide to run for Congress is seeing something I don’t believe in. I don’t believe that we should be spending money that we don’t have. I don’t believe that we should be indebting ourselves to China. And I don’t believe we should be demonizing the private sector. I think the engine of this country, the backbone of our economy, is the private sector, the free market system, the entrepreneurial sprit and the small businesses. If we don’t encourage them and incentivize them, then our economy will never recover. So that’s really why I’m running. I feel that I need to stand up and fight for those beliefs and those values that make our country great.

TheDC: You have the support of the Staten Island Tea Party.

MG: Overwhelmingly, yes. A lot of my volunteers have come from the Staten Island Tea Party. It’s an honor to have them. Some of the media wants to demonize them as fringe right-wing maniacs, and I have not seen that on Staten Island or in Brooklyn. I have seen good hardworking people that are frustrated and angry with the direction of the country and they’re standing up to voice their opinion and get involved.

I think it’s a very unique time in our history that we’re seeing a rejuvinization of democracy from the grassroots level. To see people that have never been involved in politics before, like myself, getting involved in the process is healthy, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on. That’s a great thing for America.