WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2015 - Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, who sponsored legislation to block states from mandating the labeling of biotech foods, is considering a race for House speaker should Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan decline.
“We’ve got to get it right. We need, to be frank, conservative leadership that’s going to take the House in the right direction on behalf of America,” Pompeo said in an interview Friday with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
“If it turns out I think I’m the right fit, I will put myself forward, and I will go and try to make the case to my colleagues,” Pompeo added.
Pompeo, a graduate of West Point and Harvard Law School, is serving just his third term in the House, representing the 4th district, which includes Wichita and south central Kansas.
He first proposed the GMO labeling preemption bill in 2014. He re-introduced it this spring and it passed the House this summer after being significantly revised.
There is widespread support for Ryan to run for speaker, but he hasn’t agreed to yet. Congress has been on recess this week. Other Republicans considering a race for speaker include Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas.
Pompeo is not a member of the House Freedom Caucus, the group of just under 40 members who are crediting with helping John Boehner to step down with speaker. But Pompeo told Hewitt he didn’t expect Freedom Caucus members to oppose him, if he were to run. They are “good, solid, limited government believers,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said he learned an “awful lot about leadership” while at West Point. "I’ve learned a lot when I ran a manufacturing company for a decade and a half as well, and still have a lot to learn, but I do think that there might be a place for me to try and be the right person to lead this conference forward.”