U.S. Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Northwest Georgia, said securing the nation's southern border, addressing abuse by federal agencies such as the FBI, and representing the values of Northwest Georgia are priorities for her sophomore term in Congress.
Congressional committee assignments have been made under Republican control, and Greene was given seats on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
The House in 2021, then controlled by Democrats, voted to remove Greene from committee assignments over her social media activity. Greene represents Georgia's deep red 14th Congressional District.
"I'm so grateful and thankful that they (district voters) overwhelmingly supported me, to send me back here to Washington to represent them," Greene said by phone Monday. "I will work very hard to make sure the things they care about are not only represented but heard loud and clear in Washington."
Greene was elected to her second term this past fall, winning 65.9% of the vote. The 14th District includes the counties of Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker, Whitfield and a portion of Cobb. In several Northwest Georgia counties, her support at the ballot box reached into the high 70% and low 80% range.
Oversight is one of the most important committees, Greene said, and House leadership plans to prioritize the federal government's waste, fraud and abuses of power. Securing the nation's southern border is a priority she shares with the Homeland Security Committee leadership, she said.
"I'm excited about committee assignments," Greene said. "We haven't done a whole lot yet, but I'm honored and thrilled to be on the Oversight Committee and Homeland (Security)."
The lack of security at the southern border, Greene said, has allowed illegal immigration and illicit drugs like fentanyl to flood into the nation. The Protect America First Act is Greene's proposed legislation that would put a four-year moratorium on immigration, speed extraditions for illegal immigrants, bolster law enforcement's role enforcing immigration laws and complete the border wall, among other proposals.
"When a country is flooded by a true invasion every single day, it'd be a good idea to take a pause and work through the overwhelming amount of unknown people we have in our country," Greene said about the proposed immigration moratorium. "So I think it's a really good idea."
Debby Peppers, chairwoman of the Whitfield County Democrats and a lawyer who has worked with children in the immigration process, said she agrees there is an immigration crisis -- but her solution would still allow much-needed workers from other countries and give help to those countries from which people are fleeing.
Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, one of Greene's proposals, is appalling, Peppers said. Many students at Dalton State College benefit from the rule that gives protections to those brought into the nation as children, Peppers said.
"It's heartless and counterproductive to reject these kids in whom we have already invested," Peppers said in a text message. "We have always prided ourselves on being a country of immigrants, and I believe we are better people for that."
Peppers also said local employers -- including Whitfield County's carpet industry -- are in need of workers that immigration could supply.
Greene is also proposing the Protect Children's Innocence Act. If enacted, the law would ban all gender surgery and cross-sex hormones for children, she said.
"This isn't against the trans community or gay community," Greene said. "This is strictly to protect children, to prevent them from making permanent changes to their body before they're even old enough to be considered a legal adult."
Another issue important to Greene is investigating -- and possibly impeaching -- President Joe Biden. Greene filed papers to impeach the president last session, citing the deaths of American service members during the withdrawal from Afghanistan and for failures at the southern border. Recently, Greene said Biden should be investigated for his handling of classified documents.
First, Greene said, would come the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, for what she calls a failure to do his job at the nation's southern border. Biden's impeachment is also a strong possibility, Greene said, but the committee's work to impeach Mayorkas will likely happen soon after the committee is set up, she said.
Reflecting on the election, Greene said the criticism from her Democrat opponent, who said that said she hasn't done enough for the district, was silly and voters saw through it.
"Georgia's 14th District isn't looking for handouts from the federal government. They're really sick and tired of the federal government ruining their lives, trampling their rights, making it hard to operate in business and have jobs," Greene said. "They're tired of the federal government putting other countries first and America last."
Greene said her district is full of conservatives who have had their free speech and rights trampled by the federal government -- and reining in FBI and CIA misconduct is another a priority.
Speaking to residents of her district who didn't vote for her and those who didn't vote at all, Greene said she will be working on improving the economy, a goal that will help every American. Republicans can only do so much because Democrats control the Senate and White House, but she said House leadership's commitment to reduce spending will help ease inflation.
Greene said she'll also be fighting to represent the rights and freedoms of all Americans, along with representing the traditional values and concerns of her district.
"I'll be doing my job for each and every person in the district, and I'm honored to be able to do that," she said.
Though they have political differences, David Boyle, chairman of the Walker County Democrats, said he will stay in touch with Greene and advocate for issues important to him as a senior and someone involved with the county's museums.
The 14th District is also an economically depressed area, Boyle said, with tremendous needs for young people and health care, and he wants to communicate with Greene about that when legislation arises throughout her term.
Boyle said the Democrats are working on a plan to improve civil discourse and conversations between political factions. They are still working out how they want to approach the issue, but he said ideas will be discussed at their next meeting planned for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Chickamauga Public Library.
"We want to move our community out of this frozen spot," Boyle said in a phone call. "Some people watch Fox News and don't have any critical thinking ability and other people watch CNN and think Republicans are all demons."
Boyle also said he plans to travel to Washington and meet with Greene in person and is confident they can have a civil discussion.
Residents of the 14th District can get individual help on Greene's congressional website, she said. Her office's constituent services are some of the best in the country, Greene said, and she encouraged residents of the district to reach out if they need help.