Roskam Visits AP Government Classes


Jacqueline Sumida

US Congressman Peter Roskam talk to students in the school library.

On Oct. 2 Congressman Peter Roskam came to DGS during seventh period to talk to the AP Government classes about his experience in politics. The event took place in the library, where Roskam took questions from the audience and discussed his ideas, policies and experience in government.


Roskam is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Illinois’s sixth district, which includes DGS and many of its students. He has held this position since 2007 and has been in several leadership positions in the House, including Chief Deputy Majority Whip.

First Interests in Government

“I was that kid in fourth grade who couldn’t get enough of … the State of Illinois section. I loved it — couldn’t get enough of it. Then in eighth grade, I was the kid on the Constitution test that loved that, too. I was that guy,” Roskam said.

Opinion on the Current State of Affairs

Roskam began by addressing the divisions that many feel have come to define the political scene. He contrasted the current state of affairs with John Adams’s and Thomas Jefferson’s relationship as well as the Brooks-Sumner Affair.

“When people talk about ‘this is a tumultuous season’ — yeah, it’s a tumultuous season, but not by comparison to previous tumultuous seasons,” Roskam said.

Roskam continued, expressing his belief that partisan fights receive more media coverage than bipartisan achievements.

“When both political parties are working together, it really doesn’t get covered. … What tends to get covered is conflict,” Roskam said.

Roskam is on the House Subcommittee on Health, and he recalled a recent bipartisan bill that was passed by the committee to address the opioid crisis.

“In this hearing, both Republicans and Democrats listened with humility. … And what I found really, really encouraging was there were no ‘gotcha’ questions in this hearing. People were just kind of taking feedback,” Roskam said.

He also referenced a bipartisan resolution to a controversy in which the IRS falsely accused small businesses of bad acts and pressured them into paying a $50,000 fine. Roskam described the actions taken by him and the Subcommittee on Tax Policy.

“We got the IRS to change their policy, and we got the IRS to send the money back. … Everybody on the sub-committee, both Republicans and Democrats, everybody on … the Ways & Means Committee, and every member of the House of Representatives, all the Republicans and all the Democrats agreed with me that we should take the IRS’s authority away in these cases,” Roskam said.

Philosophy on the Role of Government

“I think we’re best when we govern with the lightest touch possible,” Roskam said.

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

The Congressman talked about why he supported the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. He discussed his goal to make the American economy more competitive by pursuing growth and updating the tax code.

“The last time our tax code had been updated was when the Bears won the SuperBowl … Think about all the changes that happened in the economy since then: the entire internet has developed as a commercial enterprise … the shared economy did not exist the way it does today … the global nature of supply chains were nowhere near as intricately linked as they are today. So we had a tax code that was really not competitive,” Roskam said.

The Importance of Voting

“ … Not necessarily just more people that participate in our process based on the way I look at things. But the more people that actively participate does what? It creates people buying into it, and it also creates stability, and it creates a capacity for us to do things that are significant. … We’re going to come with strong opinions, but we’re also going to try and discern what it is that’s motivating somebody else, and maybe … we can find some common ground,” Roskam said.