Editor’s Note: The Interview took place via zoom on 1/5/22.
Garrit: Can you introduce yourself?
John: Sure, let’s start at the beginning. Two loving parents adopted me. I was raised in New York. I lived in Queens until it was time to attend the first grade. Then my parents moved us out to West Babylon on Long Island, where I grew up. This move gave my father an hour and a half commute each way, ensuring that I had a better public school system. I became an Eagle Scout. I graduated with a BS in Biology from Binghamton University, and then I taught math, biology, chemistry, physics at a Catholic High School for seven years. During my time teaching, I joined the West Valley Volunteer Fire Department, becoming a rescue squad member. I became an EMT, Long Island’s version of a paramedic, and eventually a captain. This experience as the first responder drove me to my interest in learning medicine. I went back to school to become a physician assistant. I graduated as valedictorian of my class from Cornell University’s PA program and started working in the ICU in the New York Presbyterian system. On 9/11, I was at my hospital, where we were waiting for victims that didn’t occur. So, the next day I was at Ground Zero. On the 14th, I was at Ground Zero and worked on the rubble pile that used to be Tower Two. After the third day, I realized that it was a recovery operation, not a rescue operation. So, I ended up going back to my job at the hospital. I was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Queens Archdiocese School System. My journey to Texas started when Parkland headhunted me to begin a management structure for PA as nurse practitioners. I started as a manager of the hospitalist service, and now I’m Director of Advanced Practice. I have a leadership team of 14 leaders. Since moving to Texas, I’ve earned an MBA and a master’s in healthcare administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. I’m on the board of directors of my professional organization—the Texas Association of Physician Assistants— at the state level as their treasurer. That pretty much brings us to the present.
Garrit: So, how do you think those experiences will transfer to Congress?
John: Well, I think it’s going to translate very well. My work experiences in education, health care, business, leadership, and as a first responder are vitally necessary to understand our country’s problems and threats. Our educational system in these inner-city schools and throughout the country is in shambles. We’re more concerned with indoctrinating our youth than educating them on reading, writing, and arithmetic. We need to remove the federal government from education—that responsibility was left to the states. Now, I’m a fan of school choice. I’m sure you’ve noticed, but we’re still in a pandemic. I’m a health care provider. I’m a healthcare executive. I understand the science, and I know how to look at the data. I find it horrific to see how this pandemic has been politicized. I would add my voice to Rand Paul’s, who has been a powerful voice throughout this crisis. Now, I oppose mandates. I think that Dr. Fauci has proven he needs to be removed. Then you have my MBA and my position at Parkland—that will serve me well. I manage a budget that exceeds 30 million a year across 11 different service lines. My 22 years as a provider in a for-profit, and now in a safety net institution, gives me the experience of the full spectrum of healthcare and a depth of knowledge about how healthcare works—many others don’t have. I work in an enormous bureaucracy, and I know how to navigate that successfully. My job as a captain of a rescue company shows my leadership skills. To be in Congress, you do need to be a leader. I understand what it means to be a servant leader—you’re there to help people and the country, not yourself. However, the most important trait I think I will bring to Congress is my courage. I have physically put myself in harm’s way repeatedly to help my community. My courage will no longer be physical, but it will now be in speech and thought. I will willingly accept the slings and arrows of the left, the media’s lies, the censorship on social media, and the risks of our canceled culture because socialism needs to be stood up against. No matter the personal cost, I will always stand up for freedom in America. We must remain that beacon of hope to the world. This kind of clarity and courage is what I will bring to Congress for our country and the citizens of Congressional District One.
Garrit: What is your political philosophy?
John: Well, that’ll be a much shorter answer. I’m a Christian, constitutional, fiscally responsible, conservative. I believe the government should be minimally present in the lives of its citizens, and when it is involved, it mostly should be done at the local level.
Garrit: Yeah. With your extensive background, have any particular people or events had the most significant influence over your life or your political philosophy?
John: It’d be my parents. They showed me, by how they lived their lives, at a very early age, what’s essential in life. They told me hard work, taking responsibility for your decisions, being grateful for what you have, and giving back to your community mattered. They showed me how to have a faithful life, to sacrifice for family, and how to love. Now, my father left the house every morning at 4:30 and commuted to work and returned around 5:15—so that I could have a better educational system. He didn’t just sit on the couch when he got home. Instead, he volunteered to be my Webelos leader because he saw the value in the lessons taught by the Boy Scouts. He volunteered as a fireman in my home community. I can’t tell you how many nights he ended up hopping out of bed to go to a car accident or a house fire, and he always went to work the next day. So, he showed me the kind of work ethic that I’ve carried with me through my life. My mother didn’t work because she wanted to raise me. So, she sacrificed her career. She was a Cub Scout leader. She held every position, I think, that exists in the PTA at every level of school that I ever attended. She organized and engaged other parents and started the West Babylon Public Library because she saw that the community had a need. So, these are the parents that were nice enough to adopt me.
Garrit: Is there anything you’ve learned from transitioning from New York to Texas?
John: Absolutely. I’ve learned to slow down. It doesn’t seem like much, but it matters a lot. You know, when you’re in a city that is so congested, you have limited time to get from one place to another. You’re trying to map out how quickly you can get from place to place and how much time you need. There’s always traffic or some sort of delay built into it. You become desensitized to the other people that are around you. You are a lot more focused on getting what you need to get done instead of being present at the moment and taking care of anything that needs to be done, even if it’s not one of your things. What took me the longest time was learning how to participate in meetings. So, at meetings in New York, we walk into the room, the last person sits down, and we start getting to it. When I first came down here and started having meetings, the first three or four minutes of every session was “what do you do with your family?” “How was your weekend?” What are you going to be doing for Wednesday?” It was just a whole bunch of personal things. Building those personal connections is way more valuable because it makes it a lot more effective at doing the things you need to do. Then you have those relationships and those connections when you need to count on them. So, I have found the way of life down here to be better for the soul in a lot of ways.
Garrit: Absolutely! Why are you running in this race?
John: Well, the short answer is that socialism is evil and must be stopped. There is no compromising with it. Unfortunately, too many elected officials are not up for the fight. My father told me not to complain about something unless you’re willing to roll up my sleeves and do something about it. Well, I found myself complaining about politicians a lot these past four to five years, and my wife asked me, “so what are you going to do about it?” We prayed on it, and I kept coming back to the same questions “why should it be me, and why should we bother getting off my couch?” I would keep getting one kind of answer back, and it was “what would the world look like if our founding fathers couldn’t have been bothered to fight against British tyranny?” “What would our world look like if the greatest generation didn’t get off their couch and fight Nazi fascism?” “What would the world look like if my father wasn’t bothered to fight against communism in Korea?” “What would the world look like if my uncle didn’t fight against communism in Vietnam?” Well, now we have socialism alive and well on our shores. It’s in our communities, it’s in our colleges, it’s in our classroom, and it’s in Congress. What would the world look like if our generation couldn’t be bothered to fight socialism? The answer is “not a world I want to live in.” It’s our turn to be concerned. Every generation before us sacrificed to ensure that they handed off the gift of a free America to the next generation. We can’t be the generation that fumbled that handoff. It’s our responsibility, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my part to defend America and our way of life.
Garrit: There are three other candidates in the race for CD1. Why should the voters of CD1 support you?
John: So, I am running for this office because we need another Louie Gohmert in office and not another Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger. I believe the voters of congressional district one will see my heart. This is one of the most conservative districts in Texas, and I am the most conservative candidate in this race. People like Liz Cheney have proved to us that not living in your district doesn’t ensure you represent your district’s beliefs. I think many people like Will Hurd tell us in Texas that they’re conservative, then they go to Washington and betray our trust. It’s people like him that motivated me to run for office. I can think of another guy from New York that did a great job for America and Texas, and I prefer Trump over Hurd any day.
Garrit: Yeah, you brought up something else I was going to ask. So, for clarification, you are based in Dallas, correct?
John: I split my time between Tyler and Dallas.
Garrit: Oh, you do? Okay. So, this is a two-part question. So, by being in Dallas, do you think that could hinder your chances of winning the primary, and what is your connection to this district?
John: I don’t think it’s going to hinder my ability to win this primary because I am the candidate who will make the decisions that they want their representative to make. That’s what we’re doing. We’re hiring a representative to do the job we want them to do, and I think I’m the candidate that’s going to do that. I’m going to go to Congress and do what I promise to do. I will be a fearless, Christian, constitutional conservative. I will fight for them. I will fight for America, and if something happens, I will be there for them. I’m still on the ground every single time, and I think I’m the candidate that shows that he’s been willing to be boots on the ground whenever his community has needed him. I am eager to fight for this country. As far as my connection to the district, it simply is the people. I share my time 90 miles away from the district, but we share so many viewpoints and how the world should be viewed. This is one of the most conservative areas in Texas. They believe in hard work and personal responsibility. They think that God should guide the decisions that you make. They believe in helping your fellow man and their community. So, there’s no difference between them and me.
Garrit: If you are elected, would you join the House Freedom Caucus?
John: Oh, they wouldn’t be able to keep me out. I’d be knocking on their door the first day of Congress.
Garrit: Moving on to some specific policy positions. What will be your number one priority whenever you get to Congress?
John: It all falls under the umbrella of protecting our First Amendment rights. All the other rights flow through this protection. Big Tech is a significant threat to our First Amendment and our way of life. They’re more dangerous than some foreign powers. It’s companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They get protection enjoyed by our utility companies. These protections have allowed them to censor our president and conservatives across the country. Look at what they just did with Marjorie Taylor Green—she dared to think that FEMA resources shouldn’t be used to increase testing sites. All she did was give her opinion on how FEMA should spend resources. She wasn’t giving COVID facts. She wasn’t giving vaccines points. Twitter permanently suspended her account over repeated violations of Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. Why should Twitter even have a misinformation policy? Who are they to decide on what’s misinformation? So, this is the kind of censorship we have to fight, and I would introduce a bill to strip big tech of those protections afforded to them under Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 and declare them a public square. I would add language that comes with severe monetary penalties each time they decide to violate a citizens’ First Amendment right. So, they’ll have two choices—they can stop censoring Americans, or they can go bankrupt. I think they like dollars, and I think they’ll stop censoring Americans. Conservatives also need equal protection under the law; I would open up the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and add political thought and speech as protected categories. We need to have a legal recourse to protect employees from Woke companies, our students from intolerant universities and professors, and the general public from weaponized governmental agencies. I mean, if you need proof of this, look at what the IRS did under Obama to the Tea Party. Look at what the DOJ does to parents at school board meetings under Biden. We need to have legal recourse to stop them from behaving this way.
Garrit: You brought up your background in education earlier. What do you think is the federal government’s role in public education?
John: The federal government’s role is zero. The Constitution spelled out that education is left to the states. We abused the spigot of money to dangle a carrot in front of conditions, and they’ve been way too willing to accept the dollars. I don’t even understand why the US Department of Education exists.
Garrit: Continuing with a similar theme, what do you think is the federal government’s role as it pertains to health care.
John: So, on day one, we need to repeal Obamacare. That would have already happened if John McCain didn’t betray the American people. He voted to repeal it in multiple show votes until his vote mattered. He’s a perfect example of why I’m running for Congress. We are in this mess because there’s too much government, not too little, in medicine. We need to allow insurance companies to compete and offer policies across state lines—just like we do with any other product. We need price transparency to know how much you’re paying for something before you purchase it—just like you do with any other service or product. Now, I understand that it’s a little more complicated than that because you might have an emergency and need to go to an emergency room. We can put different rules around that. But for most common medical things, these prices should be known upfront, so you can decide where you want to have it done and what cost you are willing to pay for it. Insurance lobbyists are the reasons why we don’t have this. We need people in Congress who are eager to take on those lobbyists and not take their checks.
Garrit: Absolutely. Do you think there’s room for reform for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs?
John: There’s room for reform for almost any one of our entitlement programs that we have. The federal government has too many of them. The difficulty is how we extract ourselves from them. So, Social Security needs to be fully funded because the government promised the current people on it and the people who have significantly paid into it. Many of these citizens are past the point in their lives when they can get the financial resources they need to replace what we promised them they would have. But then we need to have a national discussion about what we’re trying to accomplish with Social Security. I don’t understand why the government should be the primary source of income to every retired person in the country. That should be something that is up to your family to help you with and for you to have prepared for because life is about personal responsibility. So, I would be okay with a gradual phase-out of Social Security and letting everyone keep their portion of their taxes to decide how to invest as they see fit. The people who choose to keep it and support it well will do better than the people who don’t, but that’s a personal choice. That’s what America is supposed to be about: personal decisions and personal responsibility. Now, Medicare and Medicaid have wholly warped the private insurance markets—they remove the poor and those over 65. The federal government shouldn’t be involved in the health care insurance business. Unfortunately, it’s a highly complex task to walk that back now without many unintended negative consequences. So, it’s not going to be an easy fix. It’s probably going to be something that will have to happen slowly over time.
Garrit: Now, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are also the top drivers of the national debt. As we’ve seen, especially this year, inflation is out of control. What do you think needs to be done to combat inflation and debt?
John: The first thing we need to start doing is pulling every lever that causes inflation—which seems to be Biden’s favorite thing to do. We need to stop the federal government from using continuing resolutions to finance our government. Congress’s fiscal and moral duty to pass an annual balanced budget. You do this for your house and your business. How can we run our country in a way that’s unfitting for your home or business? We should be discussing negative budgets—not just balanced budgets—because we need to start paying off the debt we’ve heaped upon our children and grandchildren. We need never raise the debt ceiling any more than the inflation rate. If inflation goes up by 2%, the debt ceiling can mirror it. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting a mismatch, and you can run into debt problems—that should be automatic. It should be illegal to raise the debt ceiling any further past that. The Biden administration set into motion some real significant inflation that may not be stopped in the short term. 20% of the money in circulation today was printed in the last two years. Again, this terrible policy in the COVID Relief payments has directly led to worker shortages, inflation, and problems at the supermarkets and gas pumps. They’re hurting every single American every day.
Garrit: I read an article. I don’t remember from where that stated that Congressional District One ranks one of the highest in Texas for the overprescription of opioids. What are your thoughts on the opioid crisis, and do you have any ideas of how we could mitigate that crisis?
John: Yeah, the opioid crisis is genuinely terrible. It’s tied to another situation we don’t like talking about—mental health. A lot of people on opioids also have significant mental health diseases. As a nation, we don’t take care of it the way we should. For some reason, that’s not something that is paid through insurance like a lot of other medical problems in this country. That is something that probably needs to be changed. First, you have to attack supply. To do that, we need to secure our border. Tons of opioids are flowing across this border because of Biden’s current border policies, which were not coming in two years ago when President Trump had all of his policies in place. So, I think we can see a direct correlation between having a secure border and having this opioid crisis blow up to the extent that it has. Then, you also have to go after the people delivering it. So, we need to go heavily after cartels using RICO statutes. A lot of these cartels are international. So, we need to have international partners to allow us to go into their countries and remove and dismantle these organizations. Then you need also to treat the people who are using it because a lot of them are using it to try to cope with a mental health problem. So, we need to increase treatment facilities, prioritize mental health, and make it more accessible through insurance so that it’s not just wealthy people who can afford to get treatment. It touches so many American families that it is something that we need to be able to concentrate on.
Garrit: How do you plan on taking on the establishment when you get to Congress?
John: The first thing you need to do is take on the head of the establishment that’s currently there. I would introduce articles of impeachment against Joe Biden. His actions at the border have been criminal. His attempt to get OSHA and CMS to force vaccine mandates on the public is illegal. His efforts in Afghanistan and leaving Americans behind were criminal. As I told you, I was on the rubble pile at Ground Zero. I saw firsthand what those animals did to our country. Joe Biden worked with the Taliban to give control of Afghanistan back to them. He needs to be removed from office before he does any more damage. The next thing is you become the establishment by compromising your morals. So, the best way to fight the establishment is not to do that. We need to push back against people who are and point it out when they’re doing it. So, I will never go along to get along. I will fight for our First and Second Amendment rights. I’ll secure our border and finish that wall. I’ll have a zero-tolerance towards illegal immigration into our country. I would vote to repeal Obamacare. I would vote never to raise the debt ceiling. I will never compromise for a socialist policy. If I do any of those things, you shouldn’t vote for me the next time.
Garrit: Would you also support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker if you’re elected to Congress?
John: I will look at it. I don’t know enough about the entire universe of people who might be in that race. He certainly seems like an excellent choice for it. But, like all things, I would have to know the full breadth of who would be looking to do that.
Garrit: Are there any specific committees you are interested in being a part of in Congress?
John: So, as you might guess, I certainly would like to be on some of the healthcare committees. I would like to be on the House Oversight Committee. I think it’s essential to have people who watch what the federal government is doing because we have a lot of people who are never elected to positions who have quite a bit of power in Washington. They need to be monitored and make sure that they stay within the boundaries of their offices. I would love to be on the Foreign Affairs committee. I think America must be the nation that leads this world and that we are the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. If we falter in this fight against socialism, there’s no place left for people to escape to. We are the lifeboat for the rest of the world. We can’t sink.
Garrit: Do you have any final thoughts as we end the interview?
John: I just appreciate that you’ve taken the time to know me today and allow your audience to learn more about me. I will be extremely humble and grateful if the citizens of CD1 decide that I should be the person to represent them. I promise that I will always put their interests and America’s interests before my own.
Editor’s Note: Check out John Porro’s website at johnporro4tx.com.