Rep. Sean Duffy on Leaving Congress to Care for 9th Child’s Expected Health Complications

Rep. Sean Duffy has represented Wisconsin’s 7th District since 2011, but he recently announced that he will resign from Congress on September 23 in order to be with his family before the arrival of his ninth child, due in October.

Duffy and his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy, stopped by The Drew Mariani Show™ this week to discuss their decision to put family first, and that though their new baby will need extra care and attention, they see her as nothing but a gift from God.

Duffy told host Drew Mariani that he considers serving in Congress a great privilege, and so doesn’t typically talk about the demands that his role places on his time and attention. He explained that while his job does require him to be away from home in Washington, D.C. regularly, even when he is back in Wisconsin he is traveling and working to serve the people he represents.

“This is the most amazing honor to serve as a congressman,” he said. “I serve the central-northern part of Wisconsin, and it’s about one-third of the state. I have two schedulers, we’re so busy. I have one in Washington and one in Wisconsin. So it’s not just the four days I’m in Washington, but when I’m back at home there are meetings, there’s town halls, there’s parades, there’s festivals. It’s a very full schedule.”

“And as a father of eight kids I always evaluate is this right for us, is it right for our family. And we talk about it, because we always want to make sure that dialogue is open to what is right for the most important thing in our life, which is our family.”

The Duffys, both practicing Catholics, shared that they recently learned their unborn daughter has holes between the left and right chambers of her heart, which will require open-heart surgery about six months after she is born. There are also indications that the baby has a heightened chance of having Down Syndrome. Recognizing that their baby will need additional care and attention, they determined that serving in Congress was not in the best interests of their family at this point in their lives.

“If I’m honest, it’s really hard to say goodbye,” Sean acknowledged. “Rachel and I have dedicated our family, dedicated our life to making sure that I could serve our country in this capacity as a congressman. So it’s hard to say goodbye to it. But I know I’m making the right decision.”

“Rachel and I are lifers. We believe that life is a gift from God, and we always don’t choose the gift that we’re going to get, but it is absolutely a gift from God. And we are happy and excited to have this little baby come into our life. But with my schedule, with what Rachel does as well, we had to rejigger our schedule so that I could be home more. So I could put the needs of my family before the schedule of being a congressman.”

While unsure of what will come next in terms of his career, Sean shared that he was at peace with the decision they have made.

“I can’t retire at 48,” he said. “I have to find something else to do that gives me a better balance for my family and to be home with this new baby that’s coming that’s going to need a little more attention. We talk about putting our families first, and we’ve gotta live what we preach. And this is me trying to say I’m going to do what I think is right for my family and give this job up and go take care of my family. And, you know, we’ll see what comes next in our life.”

Rachel said that although Sean will no longer be serving his country as a representative in Congress, she is confident that their family will continue to serve in different ways. She has an upcoming children’s book, Paloma Wants to Be Lady Freedom, that aims to instill a sense of patriotism in young people, and in hearing from listeners who called in to The Drew Mariani Show she expressed how their family’s situation is one that many across the country are facing, as husbands and wives work to serve their communities while putting their family first.

“We can serve our family, but we can also serve our country in different ways,” she said. “I believe Sean is going to find a different and maybe even more powerful way to serve this country.”

“I have actually had this conversation about how many more men in this generation, and all the sort of cultural advancements that men have gone through, that they’re making these decisions. And I think as women we ought to be really grateful that men are taking a work-life balance and making professional sacrifices. It used to be that just women made those sacrifices. I think it’s a real testament to some really great things that are happening in terms of partnership between men and women, that men are making these choices as well.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

The Drew Mariani Show airs weekdays from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Eastern/noon – 3:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.