A typical day.
In between he has to fit in staff meetings, constituent meet-and-greets, lunch sometimes on the run, and endless walks down the Capitol’s corridors.
Also reading. Lots of it: briefing books, position papers, testimony, news summaries, etc.
“You’re dealing with very smart witnesses who know their stuff backward and forward,” Holding said. “So if you’re going to get into the intricacy of copyright law with somebody, you’d better be prepared.”
Holding serves on the House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary committees. As a freshman, he has to wait at hearings to ask questions until more senior members have had their say. One of his assignments is on Judiciary’s Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee, led by his North Carolina Republican colleague, Rep. Howard Coble, a 30-year veteran of the chamber and dean of the Tar Heel State delegation.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said Holding brings “impressive legal acumen” to his work on intellectual property issues, which she said was a boon because scientific research is so important to the state. On a recent trip with Brooks to California to meet technology executives, she said Holding knowledgeably jumped into a detailed discussion of intellectual property rights.
Holding learned his way around Washington when he worked for several years as an aide to former North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, a conservative political icon in the state. He started out as an intern during his junior year at Wake Forest University, where he majored in classics. After law school and private practice, he was an attorney on Helms’ staff, focusing on taxes and tobacco.
“That’s what I thought about all day long,” he said.
But as a member of Congress, “You shift gears every 15 minutes,” Holding said.
Still, as far as voting with his party, he pretty much sticks to the party line. He has a 90 percent Republican loyalty score, according to a Washington Post database.
President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, for example, was disappointing, Holding said, because it doesn’t balance the budget and because it includes some tax increases. Still, he added, “I do think it is a positive thing that the president is willing to start talking about reform in entitlement spending…If we don’t reform entitlements, we’re not going to have that strong safety net.”
On immigration, he’s opposed to a “blanket amnesty that rewards people for breaking the law.”
The House never voted on the gun control measures crafted in the wake of the Newtown massacre that were defeated in the Senate. But the former federal prosecutor said he opposes background checks and other Obama administration proposals because he believes there already are tough laws for felons caught with a firearm or ammunition.
Holding posts his voting record on his website because he said lawmakers need to be accountable for their votes. But lawmakers also spend a lot of time helping constituents with special requests, which can pay political dividends down the road, no matter how they vote.
Holding said it’s the main thing he learned from Helms that’s useful today: “Constituent services is job No. 1.”