Author Interview: In new memoir, Connie Mack looks back on life in politics

These days, you’d be hard pressed to find many people who would describe politics as “an honorable calling.” But in his new memoir, “Citizen Mack, Florida Senator Connie Mack” (who served as a member of Congress from 1983-1989, and as a Senator from 1989-2001) reminds readers that it hasn’t always been this way.

It was personal tragedy that initially inspired Sen. Mack to run for office. As his younger brother Michael was fighting for his life against melanoma, the Senator said he spent time in deep conversations with Michael and his brother Dennis about the meaning and purpose of life. His purpose, he felt, was to help others succeed.

“There was no question I would run for political office, and that I would run for Congress,” he said. “I grew up with a great heritage of politicians on my mother’s side, and from that a dream became a plan.”

“Citizen Mack” chronicles Sen. Mack’s time in office, delving into the corresponding political events and policy issues. The project was driven in part by his wish that his grandfather and great-grandfather, both members of Congress, had written something similar.

“I’d give almost anything to read about their experiences and the history of what was happening during their terms of service,” he said. “Now my grandchildren and great-grandchildren can read about my life.”

Initially, Sen. Mack wondered if he had enough content for an entire book, but that quickly changed as he began writing and realized there was, in fact, far more than he had the space for. Long chapters had to be edited down. When it came time to write about economics, he had President Nixon’s voice ringing in his ears.

“Richard Nixon once told me economics is boring, boring, boring,” he recalled. “He said I needed to travel, meet foreign leaders, and not rely so heavily on my stump speeches about economics and budgets. I kept thinking about that while I was writing my chapter on economics!”

This article was first published in the Tallahassee Democrat.