At 33 years old, freshman Florida Rep. Kat Cammack may be the youngest Republican woman in Congress, but she has her eye on being a ”superbroker of sorts” in her party to ensure that Republicans move swiftly and decisively on legislation should they win back the House after 2022.
“My goal is one team, one mission,” Cammack told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “It's not going to be moderate. It's not going to be ultraconservative. It's going to be a hodgepodge of conservative agenda items, but we have to get it across the finish line. And we can't do that if we're divided.”
What Cammack does not want is a repeat of what happened when Republicans had control of the House, Senate, and White House under former President Donald Trump.
“The competing agenda items fractured the Republican Conference into a paralyzed state,” Cammack said. “My goal is to become a superbroker of sorts. I want to make sure that every single Republican voice is heard and that they have a seat at the table in some way.”
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For now though, as Republicans are in the minority, Cammack is leading her colleagues by helping many of them navigate their iPhones and social media. In the coronavirus era of committee meetings being conducted by videoconference, Cammack is prepared with a plethora of ring lights.
“Even though I'm 33, I feel like I'm 73,” Cammack said. “There's a lot of pressure for you to not only be representative of your generation, but you have to educate your colleagues about how to communicate to your generation.”
Cammack has become an energetic fixture at press conferences and has been floated as a potential addition to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s leadership team after the 2022 elections.
When casting her vote on Democrats’ go-it-alone Build Back Better Act in November, Cammack was booed by Democrats on the House floor after she cast a vote of “hell no” while voting by proxy for two colleagues. “Good luck in the Senate,” she added, calling the bill “Build Back Broke.”
BUILD BACK BETTER: @RepKatCammack casting vote on House floor: "Hell no." pic.twitter.com/3xRbOvuuK9— Forbes (@Forbes) November 19, 2021
Despite her youth, Cammack is no stranger to Washington or political maneuvering. At just 25 years old, she became chief of staff for former Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, whom she replaced in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District after he declined to run for a fifth term.
“It was tough for sure,” Cammack said, but “I've always had a damn-the-torpedoes-type mindset.”
Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s wife, Carol Wells, gave her two pieces of advice as she joined Yoho’s congressional office: “Ain't nothing but hanky-panky happening in this town after 10 p.m.” and, “You haven't done anything in this town unless you've had a serious comeback.”
Cammack was raised by a single mother on a cattle ranch in Colorado. The family business was commercial sandblasting, and growing up, she raised show chickens for 4-H and was a barrel racer.
But in 2011, her family lost the ranch and she became homeless. Cammack blames that on the Obama-era Home Affordable Modification Program, a widely criticized program meant to help homeowners avoid foreclosure that was largely unsuccessful.
“Having big government take everything from us,” Cammack said, is how she found her “calling into public service.” Shortly after that, she joined Yoho’s Florida congressional campaign, kicking off her political career.
Though she has big goals for the future, Cammack in her first term aims to educate her constituents on how Washington and Congress work and what is happening. She is a member of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House, but doesn’t let that define her, describing herself as a “free agent.”
“You're better served to serve your constituents back home if you are able to broker and have relationships with all the different groups that you need to in order to be effective,” Cammack said.
Cammack describes herself as a constitutional conservative and an “America First” Republican. Outside her office door hangs a sign that says, “No vaccine mandates.”
“I certainly am not anti-vaccine, but I am firmly anti-mandate,” Cammack said, advocating for a “more carrot-rather-than-stick approach.”
She noted the high number of police officers, firefighters, and utility workers who do not want to take the vaccine. “I find it hypocritical, and the height of hypocrisy of government, to call them heroes one day and villains the next,” Cammack said.
As the wife of a firefighter, Cammack says she takes issues such as defunding the police seriously. While her district is more than a thousand miles away from the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, it still affects her district in the form of crime committed by illegal immigrants who crossed the border. She is also a leader in the House on campus free speech issues, having formed a Congressional Free Speech caucus alongside Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
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The Florida representative does not shy away from its most famous resident: former President Donald Trump. Cammack said she has had several meetings with Trump, is “always encouraged by his positivity,” and sees him “being a big part of the conservative movement for a long time to come.”
The biggest battle among Republicans over the next few years, she said, will be populism vs. conservatism. “Those are going to be some really painful family discussions,” Cammack said. “I feel like I've got a foot in both camps, you know, and my goal is to bring the two along — be it kicking and screaming or singing ‘Kumbaya.’ One way or the other, we're going to get the America First agenda done.”