Steve Rothacker | Citizens Against Government Waste

Steve Rothacker

Upholding the Constitution

7/29/11

Spend a few minutes visiting with Steve Rothacker and realize that the United States Constitution is alive and well in the hearts and minds of Americans.  Steve calls the Constitution a “divinely inspired” document, and he keeps a copy of it in his briefcase.

When candidates for political office approach him for campaign donations, as they often do, Steve submits to them for signature a “Pledge to America” that he wrote himself.  The pledge requires candidates, if elected, to follow the Constitution and only vote in favor of bills authorized by Article 1, Section 8.  Steve’s message:  “Follow the Constitution, or YOU’RE FIRED!”    

Born and raised in Chicago, Steve graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois.  He opened a Unique Indoor Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning franchise in Palatine, Ill. in 1967 and went on to help open other Uniques in Elmhurst and Northbrook, Ill.  Believing the Dallas market provided tremendous opportunity, Steve moved to Texas in 1981 and opened the first Unique in the Lone Star State.  In 1989, he opened a Unique in Philadelphia with his son, Jack, and the company (now Sila Heating and Air Conditioning) has since expanded throughout the Northeast.  Today, at 72, Steve operates a One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating franchise in Texas with 25 employees.  

Asked as a successful businessman and entrepreneur what he thinks America’s politicians need to do to lower unemployment, Steve responds, “Government needs to do a 180 degree turn, get out of the way, lower taxes, and cut regulations.”  He laments that high corporate taxes have driven businesses out of this country.  Steve cites a friend who worked for Weatherford Oil Field Services, which moved its operations and jobs to lower-tax Switzerland, as well as Caterpillar, which is threatening to leave Illinois due to the state’s high corporate tax rate.  

But like most CAGW members, Steve contends first and foremost, “We need to cut spending!  Big government begets ever bigger government.  The government can’t manage things because there’s no profit incentive.  When programs fail, [the politicians] always make the excuse they didn’t have enough money to spend.  Ronald Reagan had it right that when the government runs a program, most of the budget goes to bureaucrats and the program suffers.”

Based on personal experience, Steve worries that ObamaCare will ruin America’s healthcare system.  His 19-year-old granddaughter lives in Norway, which has socialized healthcare.  She has been waiting three years for treatment of an ailment in an artery in her calf.  Due to the lengthy delay, Steve now plans to take her to the Mayo Clinic for treatment at his own expense.  

Steve recently celebrated his golden wedding anniversary with his wife Nancy.  In addition to his son, Steve has two daughters, Julie and Leanne, and 11 grandchildren.  While he fears America may be in decline like the former Soviet Union, for the sake of these grandchildren, he remains optimistic that Washington will ultimately get its fiscal house in order.  

Steve enjoys golf, tennis, and going to the gym with his wife.  However, his true passion is sailing with his son on their boat in Annapolis, Md.  Steve quips, “I would like to invite some of the big spenders in Washington on my boat and throw them in the ocean for shark bait; however, the sharks wouldn’t eat them because the politicians in Washington are sharks themselves.”      

Steve’s affiliations include the National Taxpayers Union, Cato Institute, and The Heritage Foundation; however, he says he is most fond of CAGW’s many and varied research and educational programs, as well as CAGW’s publications, like the Congressional Pig Book, which “hits the nail on the head to expose a system where lobbyists pay off politicians with political support in exchange for earmark handouts and agricultural subsidies.”      
 
CAGW is grateful to Steve Rothacker and its other President’s Club members for backing the organization as it works to curtail Washington’s unrestrained and unsustainable spending and ensure a future of prosperity for America’s children and grandchildren.  

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