AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It is the home stretch before the General Election in November, and a familiar face has returned to The Means Report. Congressman Jody Hice from Georgia’s 10th District returned to talk about Georgia politics, what he expects in the next few weeks, and going forward after that. Also, inflation – when will it abate? And how is the post-pandemic recovery going. Plus, what are the Congressman’s plans after office?

Brad Means: First of all, Congressman Hice, thanks for your service. Thanks for dedicating nearly a decade of your life to helping this country.

Rep. Jody Hice: Well, thanks so much, Brad, and it’s great to be with you again. I appreciate the so many times being on with you, you have done an outstanding job, and just wanna say thank you for that. But yeah, it’s been an incredible opportunity, and our life’s really been the lifetime dream to be a member of Congress for eight years, and the greatest honor of my life. And for all those folks in the 10th District, I just say thank you so much for entrusting to me the opportunity of representing the 10th District in Washington.

Brad Means: Well, kind of walk me through the whole decision to run for Secretary of State. Congressman Hice sought the office of Secretary of State in Georgia, did not make it out of the primary in that contest. Why did you peel away from your service in Congress and try to go for that job?

Rep. Jody Hice: Well, it all has to do with election integrity. You know, our whole country is based upon the voice of the people being heard, and the people being able to choose who’s going to represent them. And if ever the integrity at the ballot box is compromised, then we’re in serious trouble as a Republican. And I felt as though that happened. And we had dealt with a number of federal election bills in Washington DC, which I strongly oppose. Our founders deliberately did not want the seat of our government, Washington, DC, to be the hub of elections. That’s a very dangerous thing, when the federal government gets entangled in elections. And there were a number of bills to do that. And so I was opposing that. And then what happened in Georgia, just the number of issues I felt like, and I kind of became the voice of Georgia, on the election integrity issue. And so one thing led to another, and I felt like I needed to step up to the plate and correct what I felt like were many problems in our election process here.

Brad Means: So do you still dispute the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election? Do you think that President Trump really lost Georgia?

Rep. Jody Hice: I think I’m very grateful that the General Assembly has stepped up to the plate and passed some legislation that addresses a lot of the problems. But to deny that problems existed during that election is just putting your head in the sand, I believe. And so, yeah, I believe the outcome could have been very much different, had it been the election of two years before that, or even four years before that. But the pandemic became a problem. And when you send out absentee ballot request to everyone on the voter registration file in Georgia, that becomes problematic. Georgia typically would have a couple hundred thousand, two or 300,000 absentee ballot requests, and all of a sudden we had 1.4 million people voting by absentee ballot, with virtually zero voter identification. That was enormously problematic.

Brad Means: Let me ask you this, and we could spend the whole 30 minutes on this, I know, but I need the clarification to happen here today. I talked to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State, who was in charge of the vote in 2020. We ran down a laundry list of concerns, ranging from the distribution of absentee ballots that you just referenced, to the alleged leak in the State Farm Arena roof and how it did, or did not, stop counting that night, stopped the counting process. He said all of those issues were, not to paraphrase, what they were made out to be in the press or by people who disputed what happened that night. They were all explainable. Why would he say that if that’s not the case? Why would he say these problems were fine, the election results are what they are? Is he just ignorant of what happened, or what do you think’s happening there? Because I looked him in the eye, he really seemed like he was telling the truth.

Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah. And look, what else is he going to say? The buck stops with him. And it was a absolute fiasco, and he doesn’t want it to appear. You know, if it was no problem, then show us the evidence, show us that there was no problem. But to just simply come on the air and say, “Oh, well, it was all explained what happened, as standard operating procedure at State Farm Arena.” Okay, well that’s easy to say, but it’s not standard operating procedure to send people home and then continue vote casting or accounting ballots. That’s not standard operating procedure. It is not standard to have 1.4 million absentee ballots in Georgia and to, virtually, have no voter identification with those ballots. That’s not normal. Prove to us that there were no problems.

Brad Means: All right. Let me ask you this, this is something that’s also happened since we last were with each other. January 6th happened since we last talked. Where were you that day? What do you think about what happened that day?

Rep. Jody Hice: Well, I was obviously in my office in Washington DC. I was scheduled that day to challenge the electoral votes from Georgia. So that was my focus on the day, to be very honest. I was not even aware that anything was happening outside the capitol until I was escorted out, and eventually saw on television what was going on. But yeah, listen, I don’t know of anyone who supports what happened on January 6th. I strongly oppose any violence on any front. But I also believe that there’s probably ways in which January 6th has been created to be something that it was not. We hear insurrection, for example, over and over and over. It’s not an insurrection. There has not been a single person charged with insurrection. And so there’s an attempt to use January 6th, I believe, for political purposes. And, you know, that’s unfortunate. What happened should not have happened. But to create something that did not happen is, likewise, not appropriate.

Brad Means: Have you ever had conversations like that with your democratic colleagues and said, “Hey look, y’all are probably spinning this the wrong way.”

Rep. Jody Hice: Oh, sure. And of course they don’t listen to that. They’re going to continue to spin it. Listen, there is one person, one person who knows about January 6th, and that’s Nancy Pelosi. It’s her responsibility what happens in the capitol. And it’s very interesting to me, she is the only person that is off limits to question about it. And that, in itself, exposes the political nature of this entire witch hunt.

Brad Means: Will she grant you an audience for any matter, ever? Can you say “Madam Speaker, got five minutes?”

Rep. Jody Hice: No, I wouldn’t expect that.

Brad Means: All right. Now I was just wondering, I wonder what goes on behind the scenes up there. What about going forward, Congressman Hice? Break out your crystal ball. Can Republicans win back the House, get the majority in the Senate? What do you see happening after these elections?

Rep. Jody Hice: Yeah. I think Republicans are going to win. I believe they are going to take back the majority in the House. I think the American people, overall, and I’ve had a number of Democrats even mention to me, they’re tired of what’s happening. You know, just look at what’s happening at the grocery store. You look at what’s happening in people’s retirement accounts. The price of gas going up. The southern border wide open, fentanyl, human trafficking, all this sort of stuff happening on the southern border. Going from energy independence to, now, dependency on foreign countries, many of whom are our enemies. You just go down a whole list of problems in our country, inflation, and people are tired of it. And people recognize that we are moving in the wrong direction. In fact, poll after poll indicates that the American people recognize we’re not going in the right direction. So I believe there’s going to be a major about face in this upcoming election. I believe the Republicans are absolutely going to take back the majority, at least in the House, if not the House and Senate.

Brad Means: Do you take any responsibility, or feel any guilt or blame, for the situation our country’s in now, inflation wise, grocery store shelves wise? Any of it fall on your shoulders, since you were in charge while it all happened?

Rep. Jody Hice: Well, I was not in charge in charge.

Brad Means: In charge is a poor choice of word.

Rep. Jody Hice: I hear what you’re saying.

Brad Means: In office. In office.

Rep. Jody Hice: I hear what you’re saying. Well, I can tell you I voted against all the bills that have led to this. And so, you know, personally, no, I don’t take any sense of responsibility. I feel, in fact, just the opposite. I’ve been one of many who have been in the trenches, fighting against the direction that we’re going. It does not take rocket science, in my opinion, to recognize that you cannot spend your way out of inflationary problems. You cannot spend your way out of debt. And now this week we have passed $31 trillion of national debt. That is irresponsible for us to be in that position. And at some point, we’re gonna have to deal with it. And yet, as a general rule, there are two groups of people in Washington who are addicted to spending, and that is Democrats and Republicans. Both parties are guilty.

Brad Means: Sure.

Rep. Jody Hice: Look, I admit that.

Brad Means: No, I appreciate it.

Rep. Jody Hice: I can tell you I’ve been fighting against it. This reckless spending is, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot as a country, and it’s got to come to a stop.

Brad Means: Well, okay, so you just answered the question. The Inflation Reduction Act will not reduce inflation, in your opinion?

Rep. Jody Hice: Oh, it absolutely not. Not only in my opinion, even Democrats can’t tell you how it’s going to reduce inflation. And on number of occasions, I’ve seen many of them interviewed and asked point blank, when is the reduction going to kick in? When are we going to see help from the Inflation Reduction Act? And none of ’em can answer that question. Again, you cannot spend trillions of dollars and get out of inflationary problems. You cannot throw this type of money into the system without expecting it to have negative consequences.

Brad Means: Our conversation with Congressman Jody Hice, from Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, continues in just a moment. Don’t go away. “The Means Report” will be right back. Welcome back to “The Means Report,” our conversation with Georgia Congressman, Jody Hice, continues as we try to tackle just about every political issue we can think of in this brief half hour together. Congressman Hice, what about the student loan reduction deal that President Biden did? That’s gotta be great news, right? Your student loan, all of a sudden, just goes away.

Rep. Jody Hice: Listen, it’s terrible news.

Brad Means: Wait, you don’t like it? Shocking.

Rep. Jody Hice: Oh, listen, this is another one of those issues we’ve been fighting from the very beginning. Multiple problems with this thing. To begin with, it’s unconstitutional for the president of the United States to do this type of thing. He has no legislative authority to do so. Even in June of last year, Nancy Pelosi even came out stating, herself, that the president of the United States does not have the constitutional or legislative authority to forgive student loans. And in fact, we wrote a letter, after the president put forth this executive order, where I led a letter to Nancy Pelosi reminding her of her quote and asking her to join us in standing against this constitutional overreach from the president. Of course, we never heard anything back from her. But this is another one of those things, I believe, will be addressed after the next election and a new Congress.

Brad Means: Well, I was gonna ask you about that. So, for those out there who are holding loans and who think that they’re about to owe 10,000 less, you think it might be reversed, or it could be.

Rep. Jody Hice: It should be.

Brad Means: Okay.

Rep. Jody Hice: It should be. If you take out a loan, you’re responsible to pay the loan back. I mean, this is not rocket science. Again, here, you owe what you borrow. And so look, we’ll see where this goes with the new Congress. I can’t predict what the new Congress will do on this. And, certainly, I won’t be there. So I don’t know what they’ll do. But at a very minimum, it will be dealt with from the position of the president does not have the constitutional authority to override Congress and legislate this, which he has done, to the tune of close to $500 billion. This is going to cost the American taxpayers. And that is wrong.

Brad Means: All right. You mentioned your confidence, your optimism, when it comes to Republicans taking back the House. What about the Senate? Let’s just focus on Georgia. Warnock versus Walker. What do you see happening in that race? It is neck and neck.

Rep. Jody Hice: It’s neck and neck. And I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t, that’s one of those, I can’t predict what’s going to happen. Obviously, I’m pulling for Herschel, and we’ll do all we can in that regard. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is a very, very close race. I’m hopeful that Herschel can pull this off. I think the direction that the National Democratic Party is taking this country is a dangerous, slippery slope towards socialism, and less freedoms and liberties for us as American citizens. And you know, I believe we’re going to stop that trend in the House, but it also needs to be stopped in the Senate. And I’m very hopeful that that will happen here in Georgia.

Brad Means: What about the governor’s race? Any thoughts on the outcome of Kemp versus Abrams?

Rep. Jody Hice: Again, it’s a critical race. We have the mouthpiece, really, of the Democratic Party, and Stacy Abrams, and all that the Democratic Party is pushing upon this country, from gender issues to socialism type issues. And, but I feel more confident with that. I think Governor Kemp is in a good position, and I believe, at the end of the day, he’s going to win that here in Georgia.

Brad Means: Is the pandemic over?

Rep. Jody Hice: Yes.

Brad Means: Darn.

Rep. Jody Hice: That’s what we hear.

Brad Means: Yeah.

Rep. Jody Hice: Even the president said it’s over. So let’s get over it and let’s move on.

Brad Means: When do you think those store shelves, and you touched on this earlier in our first segment, when will the shelves look normal? It still is so odd to me, so jarring, to walk down a grocery store aisle and see just barren shelves.

Rep. Jody Hice: It doesn’t even look like America, in many stores. And this, again, is inexcusable, and it’s the direct result of policies. Policies matter. And politics is all about policy. And those policies are the result of individuals who are elected to represent the people. And so elections are extremely important. But look, when you have policies that pay people to stay at home, that have been so destructive in destroying individual businesses and lives, that does not go away overnight. And we are watching the result of those horrible policies that continue to play out in the shelves across American businesses and stores across the country.

Brad Means: Well, people who put those policies in place would tell you they did it to protect the health of Americans, to make sure our country safely made it through the pandemic. Weren’t you ever concerned or scared that we were all gonna get sick and die?

Rep. Jody Hice: My concern was that it is not the role of the federal government to tell me how to take care of myself, and to best protect myself, when it comes to health issues. And whenever the federal government gets in and assumes responsibility for areas they have no constitutional authority, invariably, it ends up being bad news for the American people. We are a, and look, there are risks, right? There are risks that come with freedom. But it is not the responsibility of the federal government to assume everyone’s decision making process. I was strongly opposed to all the vaccine mandates that were coming down. That has had a devastating effect on our military and on so many other lives. And the rippling effect of those type of decisions have been horrifying. We’ve got to get away from those type of policies.

Brad Means: Tell me about Georgia farmers and what you hear from them. Because when you talk about the supply chain and getting America back to normal, farmers are a key part of that equation. Are they getting the help they need? What’s the state of agriculture in Georgia right now?

Rep. Jody Hice: Of course, agricultures are, by far, our number one industry here in Georgia. And, look, for a long time, farmers, not only in Georgia but across the country, have been taking a kick in the gut. Again, I believe a lot of that is due to bad policies in Washington DC. But you know, I’m not on the Ag committee, so a lot of the hearings, a lot of the details, the specifics, I can’t put on the table here for you because there’s a lot behind the scenes that simply, I don’t know. But again, the policies need to be structured in such a way that our farmers are able to farm and continue the awesome work they do, of feeding our country and in many ways the entire world. And to be able to profit for doing so, without surviving month after month by a thread. We’ve got to liberate the farmers to do what they do better than any other country in the world.

Brad Means: Did you feel like you were just banging your head against the wall on the government oversight and Reform committee? You talk about federal overreach, and government being too involved in our lives As the minority party the last couple of years, have you felt so frustrated?

Rep. Jody Hice: Extremely frustrated. And much of the frustration has come by the fact that it is the majority party that determines what you can have oversight over and what you can’t. And this current majority and this current administration have just absolutely shut down during the results of the pandemic, during results of issues the American people, by and large, have never experienced the type of issues we’re dealing with these days. And it is our responsibility to have oversight on those things. But we have been absolutely shut down, time and time again. And yeah, it’s been exceedingly frustrating. I do believe, and I will miss this a great deal. I believe that with the change that I believe is coming after the November election, we will be able, indeed, to have oversight and to correct many of the problems that have taken place. I will miss not being a part of that battle.

Brad Means: Are you glad you were a congressman?

Rep. Jody Hice: Ah. So, again, it’s been the honor of a lifetime. Absolutely an honor of a lifetime. In many ways, a headache of a lifetime as well. But, it’s been the honor of a lifetime, and, yes, there will be much of it that I will miss, the dear friendships and relationships that have been established. The sense of being in the trenches, and not only serving the 10th district, but our state and our country. And being in the battle, on the front lines, will deeply be missed. But I’m looking forward to being back in Georgia, looking forward to being a husband again, a dad, a granddad, and those types of things that, basically, have been sacrificed the last eight years, I’m looking forward to regaining.

Brad Means: Are we in good shape going forward? Do we have good leaders in the pipeline to follow in your footsteps?

Rep. Jody Hice: Sure. You know, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to passing the baton, hopefully to Mike Collins, as he moves forward with this. And I believe he’s looking very, very positive, obviously, for him, given the strength of the 10th district, for being a strong Republican district. And I look forward to passing the baton to him, and just speak blessings and hope the absolute best for him as he takes this ball and runs.

Brad Means: Well, my last question, Congressman, what does the future hold for you? Is it too soon to ask that question? Lobbying, consulting, network correspondent? You do great on TV. What’s next?

Rep. Jody Hice: You know, we are obviously looking at the various options right now. We’re praying through it, my wife and I, very earnestly and sincerely with that. And I’m not prepared right now to say because, to be honest with you, it’s not nailed down in concrete what we’re going to be doing. We’re still working through that process, but I anticipate, in one degree or another, we’ll still be involved in trying to stand for our country, and liberty, and freedoms, all those things that we cherish so deeply.

Brad Means: Well, once again, thanks for being here. You’ve never said no to us when we’ve asked you to come talk with us. And thank you for serving this country for so long.

Rep. Jody Hice: Thank you so much, Brad. Again, an honor to be with you. Thank you for all that you do.

Brad Means: Absolutely. Georgia Congressman Jody Hice representing the 10th Congressional District for the rest of this year.