Congressman, House of Representatives, 25th Congressional District
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
The importance of compromise and working together with those you may not agree with. Too often, we see an all-or-nothing approach to legislating that pits people and ideas against each other and stands in the way of real, meaningful progress. The best ideas are born from collaboration; it is only through respectful dialogue that we can change opinions, build coalitions, and achieve success that truly moves our community forward. I strive to always maintain this open mindset and remember that being right is never as important as doing what’s right.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
I have always drawn inspiration from my father, Gil Morelle. A Korean War veteran and life-long member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, my father showed us every day what hard work and perseverance can accomplish. He cared deeply about service, about citizenship, and about doing what’s right to help neighbors in your community. I live by the values he instilled in me — which is what drove me toward public service — and I continue to reflect on his guidance and wisdom to this day.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
Rochester has been through so much in the past year. We’ve faced an unprecedented convergence of public health, economic, and social justice crises that have left families struggling. I’m hopeful that this year brings an opportunity to take bold new action to address these challenges and unite our community around our common goal of revitalization: revitalization of our local economy, of our neighborhoods, of our families. That’s why I’m working every day in Congress to deliver the support and relief Rochester needs, and I’ll continue fighting to uplift everyone who calls our community home.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
Spending time with my grandchildren and my family is my favorite activity! I also love to read and always enjoy the opportunity to kick back with a good book. Some of my favorites are “Thinking Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman; “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin; and of course “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry — a favorite of my daughter, Lauren, which inspired the names of two of my grandchildren, Jonas and Gabriel. I also love karate — I’m a black belt and still love going to the dojo when I can find time.