ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Heath Shuler played quarterback at the University of Tennessee and finished as the runner up for the Heisman Trophy. He went on to play for Washington and New Orleans.
Shuler, a North Carolina native, eventually returned and ran for Congress. He beat a long-term Republican incumbent for the 11th district. Now out of politics, Shuler is paying close attention to the Republican National Convention.
“I think it’s a reflection of how the president’s kind of run the presidency. You have that negative, kind of throwing bombs at the other party. I don’t think that’s Biden,” Shuler said.
Shuler decided not to run again when his district was gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. Mark Meadows, now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, went on to win the seat.
While he served, Shuler was a member of the conservative and centrist Blue Dog Democrats and is bothered by the lack of anything getting done in today’s Congress.
“I think you’re only seeing a divide right now. It’s a division, an ‘us vs them’ mentality depending on which side of the aisle you stand on,” Shuler said.
He said one solution would be if they would work five days a week “like the rest of us” and stay in Washington, D.C. on weekends.
“Having them stay there for a longer period of time would actually give our country better oversight of the policies that we’ll have. But, most importantly, it will allow those members of Congress to get to know one another,” he said.
Shuler wants lawmakers to do better to help the country as Americans face a pandemic and economic crisis.
“I think that was kind of probably one of the things I did best when I was there was to actually bring legislation back to the center, as opposed to allowing the fringe groups to control the policy on either side of the aisle,” he said.
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