Featured Alumnus: Congressman David Rouzer (IBGA 93, AIPES 94)
On Jan. 6, 2015 TFAS alumnus David Rouzer (IBGA 93, AIPES 94) was sworn in as one of 58 new members of the U.S. House of Representatives. His historic win made him the first Republican in more than 140 years to win the House seat in North Carolina’s 7th District. Just six years ago, Rouzer was a freshman state senator in North Carolina who spoke to TFAS about his start in politics and how his experiences as a TFAS student in the 90s motivated him to begin a career in public service. The following contains information from that interview:
David Rouzer came to Washington in 1995 “with no inside connections, no money and no job,” determined to succeed on Capitol Hill. After attending our Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA) in 1993 and then our Prague program, the American Institute on Political and Economic Systems (AIPES), in 1994, Rouzer felt that making a difference in this country was his destined career path.
It became crystal clear to me that America is here for a purpose. The freedom we have in this country is the exception to the norm on the timeline of history.”
– Congressman David Rouzer (IBGA 93, AIPES 94)
Rouzer said his interactions with students from communist countries during his TFAS summer in Prague really opened his eyes to the importance of America and free-market economies. “These students had to keep their free-market materials and books on American history hidden in secret panels in their homes so that the secret police wouldn’t discover them,” said Rouzer. He continues, “It became crystal clear to me that America is here for a purpose. The freedom we have in this country is the exception to the norm on the timeline of history.”
Rouzer, a North Carolina native, attended North Carolina State University and graduated in 1995 with three degrees in agricultural business management, agricultural economics and chemistry. Upon his completion of undergraduate studies, he embarked on his D.C. journey.
Being a Washington outsider did not prove to be easy, but Rouzer was willing to do whatever it took to make his own opportunities. “I knocked on doors – a lot of doors. I didn’t know anyone but made friends along the way.”
It was several months after his grassroots efforts that Senator Jesse Helms offered Rouzer a job. This opportunity turned into a long running career as an aide and senior policy advisor to Helms, followed by a position as senior advisor to Senator Elizabeth Dole.
Rouzer served in the North Carolina State Senate from 2009 – 2013. In addition to his public service, he is a small business owner of The Rouzer Company and Warehouse Distribution. As a state senator in North Carolina, Rouzer told TFAS that he wanted to stress the importance of improving the education system. He believes, as we do, that students should be taught that the freedom we have in America is the exception on the timeline of history – not the norm.
To support the TFAS education of future David Rouzers, visit www.TFAS.org/Support.