Northern Kentucky’s congressman, Rep. Thomas Massie, falls into a demographic few others do, bridging both the conservationist and conservative worlds.
He drives a Tesla electric car and built an energy-efficient, off-the-grid, solar-powered house in rural Lewis County.
But he’s also skeptical that climate change is man-made.
He certainly has the science credentials: He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and invented a robotic arm used in surgeries.
His next phase might have him advising President-elect Donald Trump on energy, science and technology issues.
Conservative websites have speculated that Trump wants Massie for the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy or for secretary of energy.
Massie said he hasn’t been approached by Trump’s administration, but he said he’d consider it.
“I would listen to constituents, many of whom are contacting me now, some encouraging me if a position is open to take it, and some of them saying they would like me to stay in this position,” Massie told The Enquirer on Friday.
The science and technology policy office advises the president on all science and technology policy, including building oil pipelines, adding or cutting environmental regulations, and money for research projects.
Massie said it’s too early to speculate on what he’d do in that role. He said he wants the United States to be more energy independent. Exactly what that means wasn’t clear. Would that mean more domestic oil production and oil pipelines? “It’s an all-of-the-above strategy,” he said.
“The science and technology and policy advisory role does have influence and input into the budget,” Massie said. “I have very strong feelings our country would be better off if we’re more energy independent. Beyond that, I think it is too premature to speculate on this position.”
Massie has served in Congress representing Northern Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District since 2012,after a special election. He succeeded Geoff Davis when he resigned. Libertarian icon and fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been a political mentor to Massie, who worked on Paul’s first senatorial run in 2010 before winning a seat as Lewis County Judge-executive.
Massie serves on the House Science and Technology Committee and the Transportation Committee.
“I think the four years I’ve spent here have given me a good perspective on those things,” Massie said.
Massie doesn’t know whether he’ll join the Trump’s cabinet, but he said he’s impressed so far with Trump’s choices, particularly Tom Price for Secretary for Health and Human Services. Massie said he has worked with Price frequently over the past four years.
The more controversial choices, including Trump’s senior counselor, Steve Bannon, also please him.
“I think Steve Bannon is a great choice,” Massie said. “I think he’s been unfairly vilified by the media and stays there in an advisory role to the president.”