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Congressman Lance Gooden had the long campaign behind him when he met with the Athens Kiwanis on Tuesday.

Gooden was just hours away from winning a second term as the U.S. Representative of the 5th District as he fielded questions about serving at the nation's capital.

"I'll be going back to D.C., then we'll start getting ready leadership elections on the Republican side and the Democrats on their side," Gooden said.

Gooden said he's looking forward to getting back to work. Congress hasn't been in session since late September.

"It's a ghost town up there," he said. "The restaurants are pretty much closed down."

When asked what can be done to alleviate some of the bitterness between the major parties, Gooden said television fuels much of the animosity that exists now between the Republicans and Democrats. He said he sees it first hand with some of the Democrats who serve on a committee of which he is a member.

"Personally, they're as friendly as can be, but when the cameras go on, it gets wild," Gooden said. "That's been interesting to me."

Another reason for the polarization is the constituents want their representative to go fight for them.

"I didn't campaign to go and be friendly. I campaigned to fight on your behalf," he said. "Maxine Waters goes to fight on her constituents' behalf."

Gooden said he spends about nine days per month in Washington when Congress is in session. He has a small apartment to stay in while he's there. Members of Congress have to pay the bill for their own residences.

Gooden is from Terrell, in Kaufman County. He defeated incumbent Betty Brown for the 4th District Texas House seat in the 2010 Republican Primary. He ran for the U.S. House District 5 seat in 2018 after incumbent Jeb Hensarling announced he would not seek re-election.

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