Philippe Sorez was a substitute for Patricia Mirallès in Hérault’s 1st district. The incumbent, who takes up the post of Foreign Minister in charge of Veterans Affairs and Memory, here is the kid from Cité Mion, former president of the AS Saint-Martin Gazélec football club and former ministerial councilor, ready to join the National Assembly.
The sitting deputy appointed Secretary of State. You’re his deputy, called to take over after him … How did you feel when you heard about it?
It only surprised me halfway. I had a feeling. With the work she delivered, the struggle she had, I felt she was capable of accomplishing anything. And besides, it made it hard for me to agree to be his temp. My reflection was more complicated than in the first period. We were then in the momentum of the department. This time, in the prefecture, the day I signed the paper specifying that I was obliged to succeed him in the event of taking up the post, I said to myself: “the step has been taken, there is no one, there is no way back “. So I included it. Whether it happens or not. But the surprise is there. And I want to merge in the spirit of what Patricia did. It’s out of the question that I’m having fun interrupting what she’s done and done well. Victory in the parliamentary elections is also the result of the loyalty and fidelity we have towards each other. I will try to complement it by bringing my imprint in line with what she wanted to create and in line with President Emmanuel Macron.
She was on the defense committee. Does this commission speak to you?
Yes, I continue in the defense.
Maybe it was not your favorite engagement …
I really respect what is being done at the level of the army and the defense. We’ll see what we can do.
Which areas would you be more sensitive to?
I would have liked to have worked on three points. Save a file that Patricia is studying: ecology, the lagoon, the sea … Tomorrow there will be no more ponds. I want to understand as soon as possible with the idea of moving on and then posting. Because the environment for me is the business of young people. They will do better than me. There are also neighborhoods and associations, through our volunteers. We have to take care of it. And the third point is viticulture, agriculture, with real proximity. That we can grow our vegetables. All that, I insist, in line with what Patricia Mirallès did. The time when she will be minister.
Are you impressed with what is happening to you?
I would not be impressed, it would be serious. As long as you ask yourself questions, you will want to make progress. The day you no longer ask yourself about it, you think that everything is acquired. I want to try to learn fast, just like a child learns fast.
Do you realize how far you have come?
I realize that nothing is impossible for anyone. She is a concrete example. So am I. I want everyone to realize that anything can happen if you get involved, if you believe in things, if you believe in people. And not systematically by disputing everything. I think you have to listen a lot to learn, build and communicate.
Your story begins when you were president of the football club AS Saint-Martin-Gazélec? Is this your first engagement? Associative for once.
I was club president for eight years, from 1995 to 2003. But I played ball before. My commitment started as a 16-year-old when I took a team of kids to train them. The presidency of the club, it opened up networks for me. I was pretty close to the municipality. I was offered the chairmanship of the neighborhood citizens’ council. I had gathered as many associations as possible. It lived well. I did that for five, six years, and I gave up.
How did you get into politics?
In 2014, I went to offer my services to Philippe Saurel. I said to him, “I do not want to be elected, but I want to help you.” I knew him a little. It was he who put me on my feet. I was at the bottom of the list, not eligible, but I wanted to help. There was a need to change mayor. And it is with the Saurel wave that I return to the branch council. This is where I really decided to do something. When the counties arrived, I knew I would miss the train. I called him. He had chosen another in the canton of Montpellier 4. I said to him, “Philippe, I will go! And if I do not go with you, I will go without you.” He called back and said ok.
You sat on the county council. This time it will be in the National Assembly. You’ve been talking to Patricia Mirallès since she was appointed. What did you say to yourself?
She said to me, “Philippe, you are there! And me too.” And there was a long silence. Because it does not happen by itself. The hardest part was winning this legislative election (in the first round the duo were 900 votes behind Nupe’s Julien Collet. Victory in the 2nd round with 52.55% of the vote). The rest is a logical continuation, she deserves. But yes, there were many emotions. But already she was in the process of building the sequel. It’s impressive, it’s a machine, a workforce.
And also for you it is a fine course. Was your family from Montpellier?
My father was Chti, my mother Auvergne. All my brothers and sisters were born at home, in the dining room, in Vic-le-Comte, in the Auvergne. I was born here in the maternity ward on Avenue Grasset. My father had come to work. He worked for Mécasud, which was UIE. My mom had more commercial flair. I have inherited from her.
And you, what is your professional background?
I started at Baurès, a trader. In 1980. Boulevard Vieussens. I worked there for seven years. Afterwards, I switched to progress. I turned five, six years old. Until Scell-it, a company that sells bindings where I’ve been for twenty years. I never thought I would stay that long. I was always looking to discover something different.
Are you really ambitious?
Yes, but without ambitions! (laughs) I do not want to be bored, that’s all. I do not pick, I do not fish, I do not hunt. I am 61 years old and will retire in ten months. What was I supposed to do? I will continue to take care of others.
You will sit in the President’s majority. Do you recognize yourself in Emmanuel Macron’s politics?
Yes. But maybe we should better sell what we do.