Congresswoman Harshbarger Inspires Women to Run for Leadership Positions

The Network of enlightened Women is proud to empower young women on being educated conservative leaders in our nation. We do this by providing professional development and educational opportunities to our students. On December 8, NeW hosted Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) who provided leadership advice for young conservative women.  

You can find a transcript highlighting the event below:

Alexis Flowers: Welcome. My name is Alexis Flowers and I’m the Director of Programs here at the Network of enlightened Women, also known as NeW.

Our mission at NeW is to educate, equip, and empower young women to be principal leaders for a free society.

As part of our programming this year, we’ve been having some amazing conversations with newly elected or women who have been reelected to Congress. And today, I’m honored to be joined by Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger, who represents Tennessee’s first congressional district.

The Congresswoman was born in Bloomingdale and was the first in her immediate family to graduate high school and college. She attended East Tennessee State University and graduated from Mercer University College of Pharmacy with a doctor of pharmacy degree.

After graduation, she returned home to start a business and raise her family. She has been a licensed pharmacist and a successful business owner for more than three decades. She currently serves on the House Education and Labor and House Homeland Security committees.

She is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today, Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger: Oh, it’s my pleasure. I love to talk to young women no matter where we’re at, so even on Zoom, we’re good to go.

Flowers: Yes, ma’am. Well, let’s just jump in. After a career as a pharmacist, what inspired you to run for Congress?

Congresswoman Harshbarger: Well, you look at what’s going on in our country and as a conservative woman, it had to take a lot to have me leave a good life to come do what I’m doing. And I have a son, I have grandsons, I have a husband, I have a business, I have a farm. You have to look, and I think our nation’s at a tipping point, and when I say that I look at policies, things are not the same as when I grew up and was a young professional.

You read in my bio I was the first one in my immediate family to graduate from high school and then go on to college. We have a culture that believes that everything’s free. It’s not. I worked very hard to get where I am, and if I can influence policy in the ways that good common sense and a business background affords me, then I’m going to do that.

And that’s why I ran, to change the course of our country.

Flowers: I love that. I think if you turn on the news, it seems, and it’s the exciting stuff that people like to see in the news and the media about all the fighting and contention. But has there been any amount of working together and coming together around issues that’s been surprising to you? Or at least makes you hopeful about the process?

Congresswoman Harshbarger: Yes, absolutely. Never discard. I work with anybody, doesn’t matter what’s behind their name. The first bill that I ever passed it was on the Homeland Committee and it was by voice vote and it was bipartisan and there was no issue there. If we can’t be bipartisan on Homeland, where are we going to be bipartisan at? And look, you don’t compromise your morals or your ethics. You work with people. A marriage is the same way. What do you do? You’re not always going to get your way. I’m sorry, girls. You will not. And men, they’re not always going to get their way, but there’s where you talk it out, you compromise. And it’s almost like a round table session that you sit, and this is the way government was designed. You debate, you put your ideas on the table, somebody else puts theirs. Don’t be closed-minded about anything.

And it’s one of those deals where now that we’re in the majority, we’ll put our ideas forward. But like I said, you can compromise on different things, but never on your morals or your ethics. Don’t do that. You know who you are because God decided you that way. And I’m not here by accident. I truly believe our steps are ordered. And I wouldn’t be in Congress if that wasn’t what His will was for me. And believe me, I tried to step away, but that calling was too great. And we’re in the battle of our lives. And for you, young people get on the right path and don’t stray. It’s not going to be easy. The world’s talking to you. And I used to do this in Sunday school. I started asking one of my students questions and they could hear me and they’d answer. Then I got all the girls on both sides and I had them start talking to each other and I was still in the same voice talking to that one student. She says, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.” Don’t let the world talk to you to where you can’t hear what your true calling is and what that plan is that’s designed for you. Just be diligent, be focused, and you’ll get where you need to be. You may take a few detours in the beginning, but you’ll get there.

Flowers: I love that. Well, a very encouraging note to end on. Where can our audience find you? You’re on Twitter, and Facebook, I’m sure. Instagram, all the social media.

Congresswoman Harshbarger: Yes ma’am. We are on everything and our website is harshbarger.house.gov if you want to get in touch with me on my official site and we’ll make sure you have all the information on our Twitter handles and Facebook and everything.

Flowers: Yes. We’ll make sure to link to everything. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. We really appreciate it.

Congresswoman Harshbarger: Hey, no worries. You call me anytime. It’s my pleasure.

Flowers: Yes, and best of luck with the 118th session.

Congresswoman Harshbarger: Thank you, ma’am.

Flowers: Thank you.

Follow Diana Harshbarger on Instagram @dianaforcongress and on Twitter @RepHarshbarger.

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