Raw footage from the 1981 documentary "Rostenkowski," a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. This tape takes place on election day, 1980. Rostenkowski is interviewed in his office. Rostenkowski discusses his family's history in politics. His grandfather and father were both politicians; his father was a Chicago alderman and served in the Illinois State legislature. He then discusses his own history in politics. He discusses how Mayor Richard J. Daley discouraged him from running for a U.S. House seat that was being vacated in his district. Rostenkowski tells how in order to win Daley's blessing (and the nomination) he had to promise Daley that he would continue to service the Chicago Democratic Party even from Washington D.C. Rostenkowski touches briefly on the new roles that congress has taken on in his 22 years as a member, saying that congress now has revenue sharing deals in place with cities. In an especially progressive moment, Rostenkowski says that if the federal government really wants to conserve natural resources, they must invest in the cities in order to reduce suburban sprawl. He also says that this investment must bring young people who will make roots in the city's old neighborhoods.
00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with color bars.
01:30Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski at his desk in his Chicago office. He and the crew make a little small talk before beginning the interview.
02:29Copy video clip URL Sound cuts out for fifteen seconds.
02:44Copy video clip URL Sound cuts back in.
03:20Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Rostenkowski to give him a little bit of history about the Rostenkowski family and Rostenkowski’s own career. The Congressman gives Weinberg a little bit of attitude, both verbally and through his body language, before he begins to talk about the subject.
04:29Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski begins to talk a about his family, specifically his father and grandfather, and their involvement with public service. He also talks about his roots in public service and how he has gotten to the point at which he currently resides politically.
09:43Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski talks about the lack of fringe benefits when he first started his career in Washington. He and his aide would drive from Washington to Chicago and back every weekend early in his career. “At the time, we were younger, totally committed. I remember on Thursdays about four o’clock in the afternoon, we’d run down the Capitol steps, jump in the car and take off for Chicago, get here Friday morning with about seven hours sleep because you’d sleep in the back. But those were the things that were exciting about political service.” Rostenkowski then talks a little bit about government involvement and how it has become much more the norm in Chicago.
13:02Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski states that the anchors of every community are younger people. “If you get the young people to move in, to set their roots, to raise their children, to send them to the schools–if you get all those things contributing to a community, you’ve got an exciting, viable, deep rooted community.”
13:24Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski discusses his history with the Chicago neighborhood he has lived in for nearly fifty years.
14:58Copy video clip URL Tape end.