Congressional Leaders: Debt Matters to America's Economic Future, Senator Jeff Flake

May 11, 2018

In these one-on-one interviews, House and Senate leaders provided perspectives on our nation’s fiscal outlook and policies to ensure sustained economic growth. Recent legislation — combined with existing structural deficits and a demographic tidal wave in the years ahead — poses considerable policy challenges to lawmakers to put our fiscal house in order and set us on a more sustainable path. Leading lawmakers from both sides of the aisle assessed challenges and opportunities in building a better economic and fiscal future.

This interview with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was conducted by The Washington Post's Erica Werner as part of the 2018 Fiscal Summit.

Senator Jeff Flake

(R-AZ) Member, Committee on the Judiciary; Member, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Member, Committee on Foreign Relations

Senator Jeff Flake is a fifth-generation Arizonan who was raised on a cattle ranch in Snowflake, Arizona. Snowflake was named in part for Senator Flake’s great-great grandfather.

Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Jeff served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001–2013 representing the East Valley.

As a member of the U.S. Senate, Jeff sits on the Judiciary Committee where he also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee where he also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Water and Power, and the Foreign Relations Committee where he also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs.

After serving a Mormon mission in southern Africa, Jeff graduated from Brigham Young University, where he received a BA in International Relations and an MA in Political Science.

In 1987, Jeff started his career at a Washington, D.C. public affairs firm, but soon returned to Africa as Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Namibia. In this role, Senator Flake helped monitor Namibia’s independence process and saw that nation usher in freedom and democracy.

In 1992, Jeff and his family moved back to Arizona where he was named Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute. In this role, Jeff worked to promote a conservative philosophy of less government, more freedom, and individual responsibility.

Jeff and his wife, Cheryl, live in Mesa and have five children.

Erica Werner

Congressional Reporter, The Washington Post

Erica Werner covers Congress with a focus on economic policy for the Washington Post. Before joining the Post in the fall of 2017, she worked for more than 17 years for the Associated Press, starting as a temporary hire in the Los Angeles bureau and going on to cover the White House and Capitol Hill. She began her career as a journalist at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Werner graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Romance Languages and Literature. She lives in Washington with her husband, Bill, and two young daughters.


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