Congressman shares life lessons with students

Cary Ashby • May 24, 2016 at 7:00 PM

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-4th District) shared his three-part formula for success with students at Norwalk Catholic School and St. Paul high-schoolers Friday.

The first step is setting a goal.

“You can’t go anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going,” Jordan told the students.

The second part is working hard and the last is discipline. 

“Hard work doesn’t ensure success, but improves your chances,” Jordan said.

The congressman recalled how his wrestling coach who also taught chemistry seemed to talk about discipline “all the time” and stressed how having self-discipline is the most important key to success. Jordan said the essence of discipline is expressed in a plaque in the wrestling room named after his coach: “Discipline: Doing what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it.”

Another related message Jordan had for the students was don’t let anybody tell them they can’t accomplish something. He shared his experience of first running for state representative when he’d been an assistant wrestling coach at The Ohio State University for eight years. Jordan talked to Republican party leaders and was told he didn’t have a great chance to win the election against a two-term county commissioner.

“I politely told them, ‘We’ll see,’” said Jordan, who added he decided to go into politics when he “was looking for a new challenge.”

In the end, Jordan said he defeated his opponent by earning about 70 percent of the votes. The congressman referred to his victory as “total slap-around” and later told students he enjoys the competitiveness in politics, much like he did in wrestling.

Jordan allowed the students to ask questions.

When asked what’s the most frustrating part of being a congressman is, Jordan said it’s not getting enough done, seeing the tension between Democrats and Republicans when there doesn’t need to be and pushing party leaders to do what they told voters they would do.

Jordan earned a degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin and his master’s degree in education from OSU. He then went to law school at night.

The Reflector asked what St. Paul seniors need to do as they enter college to be successful.

Basically, Jordan said if students “go to class, go to practice and go to church on Sunday you’ll stay out of trouble.”

“The main thing is go to class,” he added. “Know what you believe in and don’t be afraid to to stand up for it.”

Jordan, when asked about presidential hopeful Donald Trump, said he thinks Trump will earn the Republican nomination. And while the conventional wisdom is that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will win the bid for the White House, the congressman said he believes Trump has a good chance to be elected president.

“I think he has a good chance of defeating Secretary Clinton,” Jordan added.