Mooresville attorney says he’s uniquely qualified to serve in Congress

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Whether it’s national security, immigration or small business policy, Mooresville attorney George Rouco says he’s got first-hand experience that few 13th District congressional candidates can match.

Rouco, a 40-year-old, is running as a Republican in the crowded GOP primary for the newly redrawn 13th District seat. Rouco says he is the son of immigrants who fled Cuba after fighting against the regime of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. His family ran a food distribution company, where Rouco says he worked before joining the CIA. Now, he runs a law firm in Iredell County.

Republican members of Congress may agree on many policy issues, but most rarely have a deep understanding of the issues, Rouco said.

“They’re told what the issues are, but they don’t understand them,” he said. “As a result, all they do is agree with the one or two congressional members who do understand the issues. So you can’t be a leader unless you’ve had that experience before. You know, I can’t tell you how to rebuild a carburetor if I haven’t been a mechanic or worked on cars before. I just can’t read it in a book and explain it to you.”

Rouco says deep knowledge of complicated topics is a characteristic that distinguishes him from other candidates in the field of 17 Republicans.

“I am running because there are major issues that our country is dealing with that I am uniquely qualified for and no other candidate is,” he said.

Describing his time in the CIA, Rouco said his job was to recruit spies from 2008 to 2013. It’s a resume item that Rouco said “uniquely qualifies” him to deal with national security issues.

“I’m the only candidate that can honestly say I’ve fought against terrorism around the world,” he said.

When asked how America should deal with radical Islamic terrorists in the Middle East, Rouco said America should work with its allies in the region to defeat enemies and eliminate instances of state-sponsored terrorism, when governments provide money to terrorist groups. More importantly, he said, elected officials and politicians need to support the military rather than politicize issues.

He said America also needs to support veterans when they return from war — something he said the country isn’t currently doing adequately.

On immigration, Rouco said many are leaving their home country to “save their family’s lives and save their own lives.” It’s takes bravery and ingenuity, he said.

Those are the people we tend to like to have here, people who are innovators,” he said.

Rouco said politicians should let undocumented and illegal immigrants apply to stay in the United States and work. They wouldn’t immediately be allowed to apply for citizenship.

New immigrants who try to cross illegally would face increased scrutiny on America’s border with Mexico, he said. Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s border wall idea, however, isn’t the best solution, Rouco said. Underground tunnels can easily make the border wall useless.

“There are multiple ways to secure the border, not just with a wall,” he said. “If we build a big wall, they’re going to build a big tunnel.”

He said the best way to secure the U.S. border is to use intelligence and “human assets.”

On small business issues, Rouco touted his time running his family’s food distribution company. Rouco said he’s hired “dozens” of people. They eventually sold the company.

“That’s the American dream,” he said.

Rouco also notes his experience with the healthcare system as an important asset. Rouco said he has represented medical professionals in court as part of his law practice. He said his daughter was born with a heart defect and required open heart surgery a few days after being born. He says it’s a struggle to pay medical bills. Rouco says he and his wife pay $18,000 per year in health care premiums.

“I’m an attorney and my wife’s a veterinarian, you know, we do pretty well for ourselves,” he said. “Yet, by the time we pay our premiums and by the time we pay our deductibles and all these out-of-pocket expenses, it’s month to month sometimes. I can’t imagine what other families are going through. … The insurance companies are taking advantage of our system today.”

Because of experience on those four topics, Rouco said he’s ready to “hit the ground running on the first day in office” if elected.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.