As editor of The Christian Index, I have had the enviable privilege of meeting and interviewing some remarkable people, including some of the most notable pastors, amazingly dedicated missionaries, fascinating business tycoons, all star athletes, and influential political leaders on both the state and national level.
I had the privilege of interviewing a delightful lady recently, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, who represents the 5th Congressional District in North Carolina. I wanted to talk to her about her new book, God Is in the House.
Dr. Foxx is known for her profound faith, extraordinary work ethic, influence as an educator, conservative values, and effectiveness as a member of the United States House of Representatives. In fact, she has a lifetime 96 percent approval rating from the American Conservative Union. She is known as a champion for individual freedom and limited government.
According to her own testimony she rose “from extremely humble and impoverished beginnings,” growing up in a house with no electricity and no running water to become a college president, state senator, and member of Congress.
The extraordinarily astute congresswoman got into politics by going to school board meetings in Watauga County, North Carolina as an observer. She recalled, “One night the school board was being particularly incompetent and the man who sat next to me said, ‘Why don’t you run for the school board?’”
The question compelled her to get her name on the ballot for the school board and although she lost the race, she commented, “My loss was a great blessing, because I learned you could run for public office, lose, and still live. It was a low budget, low impact race, but it’s still hard to lose.” The unflappable educator ran for the school board two years later and won. She ultimately served for 12 years on the school board.
Dr. Foxx expressed concern that many people with wonderful capabilities, particularly women, are hesitant to offer themselves for elected office because they feel inadequate or fear losing at the ballot box. She urges people with conservative values to file for election in whatever political arena they might wish to become active. Incidentally, the charming Congresswoman from Crossnore (NC), who is completing her seventh term in the House of Representatives, filed for re-election on Feb. 13.
In 1987 Dr. Foxx was elected president of Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine, NC. During her tenure as president the school was transformed from a struggling educational institution into a strong, dynamic, reputable school. She developed several nationally recognized programs, some of which have been adopted by major universities.
She also raised over $1 million in private funds for an on-campus, state-of-the-art child development center built by prison inmates.
After three terms on the school board Dr. Foxx decided not to run for a fourth term. But in 1994, she was asked to run for the state senate. She won that race and served as a North Carolina state senator for ten years.
In her last race for the North Carolina state senate her area went through a redistricting which meant she would have to run against another Republican, forcing a primary. Not being particularly savvy with computers at the time, she campaigned the old fashioned way. She explained, “We got the list of my primary voters. My husband, Tom, wrote the [phone] numbers down and I would sit in the bedroom during mid-day breaks and evenings making my calls. There were 1,450 calls to make in Wilkes County alone.”
On the night before the election the determined candidate made her last call at nine o’clock. Her call convinced the man on the other end of the line to vote for her the next day. She won the election, proving that diligence and persistence pay great dividends.
In 2004 there was an open U.S. Congressional seat in the 5th district of North Carolina. The woman who had not lost an election since running for the school board that first year decided to throw her bonnet in the ring.
Representative Foxx’s work ethic is incredible. She commented, “When I am in Washington I try to get to work by 7:30 a.m. and work until midnight. I personally answer all my emails and letters. If I get correspondence from a mass mailing all containing the same message I will still write the response although it will be copied and sent to all those who have written.”
Not only is her work ethic extraordinary, but also her effectiveness as a member of the House of Representatives is also quite remarkable. She has been successful in advancing her conservative policies and in 2016 was selected as the Chairwoman of the House Committee of Education and the Workforce.
Dr. Foxx’s book, God Is in the House, is a book of testimonies of her congressional colleagues who are devout in their Christian faith and attend a Thursday morning Bible study group with her (Senators have a similar Bible study each Wednesday).
One of the testimonies in God Is in the House comes from Georgia Congressman Tom Graves, who represents Georgia’s 14th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He declares he was saved during a revival meeting that had Jay Strack as the evangelist. He met his wife, Julie, at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta and his testimony is strong and inspiring.
Representative Graves commented, “We were not involved in political life, except through voting. But all that changed in 2001. Our pastor announced that an abortion clinic was going to move into our community…. We realized, then and there, that we had to be engaged in the political process…. If God can take me from the hills of North Georgia to Capitol Hill, anything is possible if you dream big, work hard, and have faith in the Lord.”
If Republicans and Democrats are to ever work together it will certainly be through these prayer meetings and Bible studies. Reading Congresswoman Foxx’s book gives me hope that politicians can reconcile, re-establish their priorities, and earnestly seek God and His wisdom so that American can become the world’s lighthouse of freedom and truth again.
Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, has provided the foreword of God Is in the House. Dr. Foxx declares that the purpose of the book is “to convince readers that God still indeed plays a role in guidance and direction as members of Congress seek His hand.”
Proceeds from the sale of the book go entirely to the funding of the annual National Prayer Breakfast held each February. Congressional ethics rules do not allow members of the House and Senate to promote their books in their official capacity, but God in in the House may be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and local Christian book stores.