John Barrasso: Kennedy Inspired Move to the U.S. Senate

The Wyoming senator will never forget Kennedy's inaugural address.

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John Barrasso came from the humblest of roots in Pennsylvania, where his father was a cement finisher. But he never forgot the thrill of coming to Washington, D.C. to hear President John F. Kennedy give his inaugural address, when Barrasso was just eight years old. Now Barrasso has his own place in Washington, as the junior Republican Senator from Wyoming. Barrasso worked for 24 years as an orthopedic surgeon in Casper, and became known for public health announcements aired throughout the state and for being an advocate for low-cost health screening. He's continued that tradition by fighting for telemedicine and other health services for rural residents. Barrasso also has joined the contentious battle over climate change, arguing that the Obama administration's measures will impede economic growth.

U.S. News opinion editor Robert Schlesinger asked Barrasso about his small-town roots, the Senate's partisan gridlock, and why Barrasso's mom says "This is the most important year of your life," every single year.

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The U.S. News podcast series, Leadership for the Next Decade, explores the ideas, innovations, and solutions that will inspire America for the future.

Moderated by U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly, the podcasts feature exclusive interviews with leaders across the spectrum, from education, business, art, science, and medicine to government, public service, and philanthropy.