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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton isn't afraid to get his hands dirty and feels right at home in the fields of Yell County.

"We're at the Sunny Side Farm, which has been in our family for several generations. It's the farm where I grew up," said Cotton.

Raising cattle is a family tradition, but his dad always felt his son had political aspirations.

"I thought if that was what he wanted to do, I could certainly stand behind him. It was a big step to take since he'd never been involved in politics, but I thought he'd make a respectful run at it too," said Len Cotton.

And he did, with a win in his pocket and leftover campaign posters in the barn, Tom Cotton is a man on a mission. From the fields of Arkansas to the halls of the U.S. House, the Arkansan who many didn't even know has definitely made a name for himself in a very short amount of time.

In January, he appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show, a national radio program, saying, "To have women serving in infantry though, could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units."

Cotton's comments regarding women in combat quickly thrust him into the national spotlight.

"I had a few women that said that they thought they could perform any task a man could, and they very well might be right, but I had plenty of women to include my sister who said they agreed with me and said they certainly would not be able to make it in an infantry unit," explained Cotton.

"There are some mission essential tasks. For example, Marine tankers being able to carry 50 pound shells inside a tank, carry a 200 pound soldier who's been wounded and has to be drug with full kit," added Cotton.

As for whether he agrees that there are probably some men that may not have the physical strength or be able to do some of those missions, too, Cotton said, "I do, and I had some of those underneath me. I had to discipline them and ultimately move them out of our unit."
Another controversial vote of Cotton's was against Superstorm Sandy relief. Cotton was the only Arkansas Congressman to vote no.

"Some of these bills had spending measures that were far away from the Sandy impact zone. It also had measures that were not immediate and urgent," Cotton explained. "It's not about turning on the lights, turning on the electricity, it's talking about long term needs that were frankly there before the Sandy storm hit."

While he opposed Superstorm Sandy relief, he did support disaster aid in his own home state following the recent Christmas blizzard.

"The difference there, would be there are many programs and agencies like FEMA and the Department of Agriculture that are already appropriated, they're fully funded on an annual basis so you're not appropriating new money," said Cotton.

Whether it's a vote or a statement, this freshman congressman knows not everyone will be happy and so does his dad.

"We'll I can tell you what I tell a lot of people. I say Tom, 'Sometimes you make these votes, and I said they may not see you back at home, but they're going to see me and ask me things.' But, he's voting his conscience. He's voting what people sent him up there to do," said Len Cotton.

As for his future, Cotton said it will be many months down the road before he'll make a decision about whether he'll run for re-election or do something else.

Even though he's only been on the job for a month, his name has already been mentioned as possibly running against incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, the only Arkansas Democrat in Congress.

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