WASHINGTON, DC (WVIR) - Newly appointed Virginia Congressman Denver Riggleman has only known life as representative of Virginia’s 5th District for two weeks, but they've been accompanied by political strife in Washington.

Now entering its third week, the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history has been a cloud over Riggleman’s head during his start in politics. The Republican says he hopes to put his business savvy and military background to good use to help resolve the federal stalemate.  

“There’s a lot of courage needed because when you walk into being a congressman, there’s also a little terror sometimes,” Riggleman said.

Riggleman campaigned on health care reform and government deregulation before defeating Democrat Leslie Cockburn in the 2018 midterm election. He was sworn into the House of Representatives on January 3, and says bipartisanship and transparency are what will solve the shutdown.

“I was a defense contractor, but also in the government so I know how a shutdown can affect people,” Riggleman said. “It almost crippled my company at one time during a shutdown.”

Riggleman is the CEO of Silverback Distillery in Nelson County. He says he supports President Trump’s border wall, among other immigration reform measures.

“I think there’s a three-step process," Riggleman said. "First, secure the border. Second, work on visa reform because the 5th District has labor issues. Third, make sure E-Verify works the way it’s supposed to."  

Riggleman is a former Air Force officer and national security contractor. He is calling on his peers in both political camps to get a deal in place.

“Let’s stop with the games and let’s stop with the one-off bills,” Riggleman said. “Let’s get a comprehensive bill in place. Let’s get President Trump and the House leadership to the table and let’s get this deal done.” 

Riggleman says bipartisan support is what will help bring down healthcare costs for central Virginians.

“We have to cut through where people have transparency in pricing in what they can see and give them a free market solution that goes on with protections,” Riggleman said.

Ultimately, Riggleman hopes to offer stability to the more than 700,000 Virginians he represents.

“I’m going to do the best I can,” Riggleman said. “If they’re going to vote me out, they’re going to vote me out honestly.”

Riggleman encourages all of his constituents to track his voting record online. He also says he plans to respond to every message he receives from the people of the 5th District because it is important to him to let Virginians know he is listening.