There’s no shortage of disagreement in politics. Today, it seems more and more challenging to bridge our divisions enough to reach common solutions for shared problems. How do we learn to reach across the aisle in cooperation, without comprising our most important values?

U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer (Minnesota) joined Bill Arnold on the Early Morning Late Show with to discuss growing up in Edina MN, why hockey is the ultimate sport, and how he’s learned to build relationships and work together in a politically polarized age.

“I was once told that I don’t reach across the aisle well and I said to the person, ‘You clearly don’t know enough about me because I reach across the aisle all the time. The only difference between me and others is when I reach across the aisle, it’s to grab your hand and pull you will across with me.’”

He says the concept of compromise is valuable, but in Washington, it has gained a whole new meaning.

“I think politicians have ruined the word compromise. When Jackie and I got married, Jackie wanted four kids and I wanted three. We compromised: we have seven. Now that works wonderfully in marriage, but in government the problem is, when they compromise like that, everybody gets everything they want but we (the public) get a whole bunch of stuff we don’t need and we can’t afford, so people get more and more upset.”

Instead of simply spending our disagreements away, or remaining intractable on either side of a divide, Emmer recommends looking to build personal relationships from common goals.

“Reaching across the aisle really is about building relationships with people that want the same things we do. We want good schools, we want good strong military, we want good infrastructure, roads, bridges, etc.  We want the same things — we just have a different way of getting there.”

“It should be about building relationships with people on the other side of the aisle that have a different approach to get the same thing, not violating our principles, but finding a way to get there together without violating the principles that we believe.”

U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer was sworn in for his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 6, 2015. On November 8, 2016, Tom was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in the 115th Congress. He was born in 1961 in South Bend, IN as his father finished his degree at Notre Dame. He grew up in Edina and went to St. Thomas Military Academy, where he grew in his faith and learned leadership through JROTC.

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer on the Early Morning Late Show