On one hand, Steve Knight said he misses being in Congress. But there are aspects of the job he definitely doesn’t miss.
“My first year, I got asked what was the toughest part of working in (Washington) D.C. It’s the travel,” Knight said this week in one of his first interviews since Katie Hill unseated him in November. “It really is the toughest part.”
He added that his blood pressure’s down, his back doesn’t hurt and his schedule is his. But his desire to serve might not have been completely extinguished. Although he ruled out running for office in 2020, he said beyond that, “Life is very fluid.”
In the meantime, he has started Knight Consulting, in which he helps companies and organizations navigate the halls of state and local government.
He didn’t specify what companies, organizations or industries except to say he would like to work in aerospace. He did say that his clients are mostly from the contacts he has made over the last 10 years.
“It’s got a lot of plusses,” he said. “I work with people I’ve worked with. I set my own schedule. I don’t travel unless I want to. I go to Sacramento about once a month.”
And yet, Knight said there are times he wishes he had won re-election because he witnessed a major change in government: the rise of social media.
As he sees it, social media has created more divisiveness and has made it harder for the two parties to work together to get anything done. An elected official can look at hundreds or thousands of comments; Knight said Abraham Lincoln had to answer to just his cabinet.
He also thinks the amount President Trump uses social media is the new normal.
“President Obama started it. President Trump took it to the next level,” he said. He believes the next president will have to build on that in his or her own way.
And while Knight did not point to any one reason why Hill defeated him, he alluded to social media as a contributing factor.
“Social media hurt me because I wasn’t good at it,” he said. “Much of my work is person-to-person. I average about 10 emails a week, and those are catch-ups and follow-ups. … I was a cop, and cop work is face to face, and I really like that.”
Even now, his consulting firm is not online.
Meanwhile, Hill ran what she called the “most millennial campaign ever,” and she still tweets most days.
Naturally, Knight’s loss hurt, he said. “I was one of the few who thought I was doing a good job,” he said. The first couple of months saw him shocked, sad and unsure just what to do next.
“Soon after, you figure out this is America. I need to make money,” he said. “Let’s get going.”
It was his wife that suggested consulting as a way to play to his strengths of helping people solve problems. It was something he couldn’t do in government because bureaucracy moves so slowly.
But as a one-man operation working out of his Palmdale home, Knight admits he has as many clients as he can handle. But since he wants more, he knows he has to bring in a partner and then someone to run an office.
He is looking at office space in Lancaster, five miles from his home. It’s a far cry from the 2,668 miles to Washington.
“I don’t sit on an airplane 11 hours a week,” he said.