Although Nicole Malliotakis and Michelle Steel are 25 years in age apart, they have much in common and offer a glimmer of hope for those who think half the country has lost its collective mind:
- Each is a Republican freshman
- Each won election to the House for the first time
- Each ousted an incumbent Democrat in resolutely blue states (NY/CA)
- Each has a scathing view of politics in her own state as well as in each other’s state
Nicole Malliotakis and Michelle Steel, members of the Freedom Force, are robust proponents of low taxes and limited government. The WSJ’s Tunku Varadarajan interviews the two freshmen reps.
Ms. Malliotakis’s mother fled communist Cuba in 1959, when she was 16. She tells Mr. Varadarajian: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government should provide an environment for that—and then get out of the way.
Ms. Steel, born in South Korea, came to the U.S. at 19.
Her earliest political beliefs came from her mother’s experience as a clothing-store owner in Los Angeles:
I saw that my mom was harassed—really harassed—by a tax agency, the State Board of Equalization. And you know what? I decided that the Republican Party’s ideology is much better for small-business owners. They need less regulation and smaller taxes.
Ms. Steel’s first foray into elective politics was a successful run for the Board of Equalization in 2007, writes Mr. Varadarajan:
This imprint of her mother’s flight is part of the reason she is a “passionate opponent” of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow outer-borough New Yorker and self-described socialist. In opposition to “the Squad”—the nom de guerre of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s far-left cohort—Ms. Malliotakis started her own small group of congressional freshmen, the “Freedom Force.”
There’s four of us who on the first day bonded very quickly because we shared very similar circumstances.
Other Freedom Force members:
- Carlos Gimenez, Cuban-born, from Florida
- Maria Salazar, the daughter of Cuban-refugee parents, from Florida
- Victoria Spartz, born in Ukraine, came to the U.S. at 22, from Indiana
I guess you could say that we’re the founding members, acknowledges Ms. Malliotakis.
But she’s certain that “others within the freshman class who are supportive of freedoms and liberties” will join them.
Ms. Steel adds, that she is going to work with The Squad, “including AOC. “Totally out of line,” is how she describes The Squad.
I want to conserve what we have in this country for future generations. I have a grandson who is 15 months old.
For me, socialism is personal. We’re going to fight back vehemently when we see policies being proposed that will fundamentally change our nation.
Ms. Malliotakis believes Nancy Pelosi faces a choice:
Is she going to work with us in a bipartisan way, to accomplish things? Or will she empower the socialist Squad and kowtow to them?