tv 116th Congress Freshmen Profile Interviews Part 1 CSPAN January 3, 2019 1:33am-2:04am EST
plan that doesn't attack new jersey got quality and affordable health care for everyone in the country, working hard to bring costs down some infrastructure spending so we can grow the economy now and well into the future. i've always put the country first and worked with people from across the country and across the world to get the mission accomplished. the
came down to a vote on two personalities instead of discussing the issues and fighting for the issues as our founders wanted us to sit it was a bit of a watershed event and i decided to run. the >> why did you think you could defeat dana rohrabacher? >> this was probably the biggest decision that i had made with e diligence and i looked at it with my business background and law background i could do a better job than he has for the last 30 years without understanding the process but it takes to get here and we had a great team and volunteers that allowed us to win. >> host: explain what you were doing before you decided to run for office. >> guest: in business i built one of the largest real estate firms in the country we franchised into the night was doing a lot of work from early stage before jumping in and running for office. it's an important issue that you
care a lot about? >> my wife and i in our 20s, she gets full credit that she wrote about the plaintiff homeless families and how often you lose your job and lose your house and live in a hotel then listen your car and it can be a difficult decision to go to a shelter and at that time it's still true in many places we would send the father and older post of the man'voice to the mad mother and younger children to the women's shelter when all they have left as each other. the system was pulling them apart so my wife decided we are going to build a shelter for homeless families so that doesn't happen in our community and ever since it was active. >> what impact did that have on you? >> it was meaningful to accomplish that in our 20s. it showed you can be the change you want to see. a group of committed individuals can make a difference in their community and beyond. >> what do you plan to do when
you are here starting in january what will be your priorities? >> guest: to pick up where we left off on the campaign promise has beeuponthis has been commonr common ground. i talk about how i believe most americans are between the 20-yard line if you tend to focus on what keeps us apart instead of what brings us together and i'm looking forward to working with fellow democrats and republicans on the other side of the aisle who are prepared to put the committee first. >> i would like to work on energy and commerce also interested in transportation and infrastructure. i thin think that's where the cn ground is with people across the aisle to put the community first and select focus on through is. through >> host: where does your desire to reach the common ground come from?
>> guest: the business world i had the opportunity to manage up to 10,000 people and you don't get there without doing it in a team effort and understanding the different machinations and political desires in the corporate world that still exist. you need to work through that to build a team. >> what else in your experience do you think will be applicable to serving in the house of representatives? >> one thing that comes to mind is a lot of people who served in congress have never run a business so they don't know what it's like to have to make payroll or sign a personal guarantee or what happens when families depend on your decision and making the right decision in such an absolute way that they could lose their job if you make the wrong decision. my dad when i first went into the business world peace and but remember there are hundreds of families that rely on every decision you make and it grew to
10,000 families and that's a burden we shoultheburden we shos we work. >> what influence did your parents have on you? >> guest: columbus ohio my dad was an american entrepreneur who started a real estate company with an old were resting on two small forces in his basement and we were fortunate that his support to be able to go to law school and practice for some time before taking over the family business. >> how have you balanced work bd family back in california? >> we have four kids and she's written numerous books that we always talk about there is no balance it's just a question of which way the pendulum is swinging. you manage because you have to manage it as the more you have on your plate the better you deal with it. >> host: what about logistics
you go back to california quite a bit but have you figured out where you were going to live and how you'll handle the back and forth trips? >> guest: became in one day early prior to the last week of orientation and figured out right then and there and anticipate probably 35 to 40 year so being here for the weekdays and back in the district for the weekends to meet with constituents. i know for some people it is a financial burden but we have been very fortunate to create the opportunity to do this to serve a greater good. in the 22nd congressional district succeeding 15 term congresswoman who chose not to run for reelection. she served as a health and human services secretary during the clinton administration.
you are a household name the longest health and human services secretary for bill clinton. is that going to help you? >> i think in some areas it is going to help because it's very much with the democrats are going to focus on whether it's health care or the environment or gun control immigration reform, those are issues that are central to the democratic platform to what we ran on and frankly what the american people care about. >> host: what about your experience after serving in washington taxi went to florida and received miami president. what about that experience will help you out here? >> i was president of the university of miami and give her the chancellor of the university of wisconsin, president of hunter college so i had a lot of experience with young people and issues they care about and obviously a lot of experience in
world-class medical care both at wisconsin and at the university of miami we had a big health system. people are concerned about pocketbook issues and the cost of prescription drugs, out-of-pocket cost for insurance. that's my area of expertise and what i hope to focus on. it will not only help people in south florida. in my district has 100,000 people registered for obamacare. that's the largest number in any congressional district in the country. so, they expect me to make certain that we do everything we can to make healthcare more affordable particularly to focus on the prescription drug costs. >> descriptive district and why you chose the south florida district to run for congress. >> first of all, i've been living in that district for 20 years. my grandparents with the district, my cousins. i have strong family ties. i have cuban cousins who came over from cuba.
when the lebanese left lebanon, they went over the world and so i have relatives all over latin america but particularly my cuban cousins are in miami. let me say this, but the south florida district i represent involves the beaches. everybody knows south beach and miami beach. downtown miami, coral gables, coconut groves. it's what people describe what t they described miami. it's all in miami-dade county, so it's a wonderful district. it's been represented by a republican for almost 30 years, so that's been a republican held districts. i decided i could flip it for the democrats and begin to focus on the domestic issues as well as some international issues because latin america consider ourselves the capital of latin america. but certainly the domestic
issues like healthcare, health , immigration, sea level rise, the environmental issues are life and death. we have no climate deniers in south florida. >> 71% hispanic so what will be your priorities here in washington? >> of the hispanic population cares about health care. that was the primary issue in the campaign. he also care about immigration reform because so many of their friends and relatives as well as people that live in south florida are undocumented and we need to do something about that. but they also care about environmental issues when you talk to the young people in my district, and i have the university of miami in my district they are interested in two things, the environment and aching sure we have a world that is left for them and they are interested in gun control and the sensible gun control policies. >> where did you grow up? >> cleveland ohio. >> was the impact of the midwest
on you, how do you think a shape you? >> i came from a working-class district in cleveland ohio. my family second-generation immigrants from lebanon, hard-working people, blue-collar, worked in factories in cleveland particularly the steel factories and the auto parts factories in cleveland, so i feel and lots of people in south florida are from the midwest, so i feel those midwestern values and i care a lot. my relatives are still in cleveland. i actually my sister and i have a place that we go for christmas and other vacation times so those midwestern values, things midwesterners are concerned about and use all that reflected in the presidential campaign and most recent campaign aides jobs, the economy. the economy doesn't work for everybody. it may be booming but it doesn't work for everybody. and the decline of the role of
unions because of the decline in exporting of certain industries certainly the steel industry in particular has hard hit the midwest. when i was a kid growing up, my friends parents have very good jobs they were union jobs in the steel mills in other industries in cleveland that doesn't exist anymore. we have more of a economy the government has to play a role and the government only should get in when the private sector can't but we have a lot of work to do. just the decision by gm to eliminate jobs all over the midwest is both disappointing. i'm not sure what he ca we can o about it but it's a reflection in the trade policies of the administration but also in the fact the economy doesn't work for everyone and that's what we have to work on.
>> have you heard from former president bill clinton since your victory? >> he said he's very proud of me. i wasn't a politician when i became the secretary of health and human services. i have some political skills, i'm a political scientist so i study and teach about politics. i've actually talk about congressional politics and i'm excited -- >> what will you bring and what advice did the former president give you about serving in the house? >> he says the same thing to everybody you have to learn how to listen and learn the rules say you can get legislation passed. i am a freshman but i'm not a rookie so the substantive areas are not going to be as much a challenge to me as learning how to work on legislation. i always had staff people when i was here in government and now i have to do it myself so it's going to be an awful lot of fun. i loved campaigning in south
florida is a very special place with special people so i like the whole thing. i respect politics and people who put themselves out and run for office. i've already made friends on the other side of the aisle and i've known the leadership of congress both republicans and democrats for a long time. even the staff people here have said welcome back. >> you ran for the seat before. why were you motivated to serve in the house of representatives? >> guest: i thought the country's future was on the line and the way things were going some of the left-wing policies i thought needed to be corrected so i jumped in the arena and we
ran three straight terms. many members of congress had to do that. newt gingrich the former speaker so here we are and we are excited for the opportunity. >> host: how were you able to put off this time? >> we shook hands with people and i think the retail campaign is not a lost art and we proved that. the we shook every hand and stood strong for what we belie believe. we made sure we protected the god-given rights and sustained agriculture and i think in the and people did appreciate that. >> you come from a family of politics. >> my father served 1974 to 1982. so it is quite an honor to be able to share that. >> what advice did he give you?
>> he said need some new friends and put a good staff together, seek out the right committee assignment and always make sure everything you do is to serve the people in minnesota. >> my mother is the nicest person on earth, the best supporter. she kept pushing me to do the right thing and to seek the dream and do what i could to serve the people and to always be upfront and honest. >> what about your family life what did your father tell you about balancing washington and minnesota cracks >> i'm about to get married in a few weeks. my fiancé's been out here for orientation and it's hard to find time because you have to go back home and serve the people and keep shaking hands with people and so we do what we can but it's a great opportunity. right now the country is at a
crossroads that houses democrat, the presidency of donald trump there will be negotiations back and forth and plenty of work to do on the committees he hoped to be on the transportation committee to be able to work with democrats and across the aisle to get things done. >> you were not new to dc. what is your past background? >> i worked for a congressman and minnesota from 1984 to 1991 during the reagan revolution and what i learned is that one kind of nondescript member of congress working as part of a coalition can achieve great things when there's an opportunity. he was helping president reagan passed the votes for the military. cut taxes the economy rolling. after the economists in the world helped to defeat the soviet union protected our god-given rights.
doing things to make sure we didn't have federal funds for that. you can get a lot done as long as you are all working together. >> what are your priorities for the next congress? >> primarily agriculture and small business and manufacturing of course with the mayo clinic medical care dimmick surely take care of business in those areas. the farm economy has been for many respects five years will come out of high input costs selecdown from a cost of farmino make have good trade and then times are tough all of something i'm goini was bornin a town we .
i came to america with my mom first grade was in new york city and princeton new jersey. >> do you think that experience has in so many ways. just the experience of being an rest of the world. i grew up in a communist country into dictatorship although i was a small my parents feeling powerless in fron.
we felt a sense of relief in tho exercise the checks and balances that are very delicate in the history of the country. >> you defeated republican leonard lance. when it the moment you decided he would run and why did you think you could claim? >> after i left the obama administration when i was the assistant secretary i was very concerned about the direction the country have taken after the 2016 election.
everything from the changes in our foreign policy to the attacks on the right to healthcare and basic human rights, the muslim ban, ban on asylum, refugees, the rhetoric that we are hearing from the white house. i felt i wanted to do something practical and changing the control would be the most practical thing i could contribute a. then i asked if i actually contribute as a potentially future congressman an congressmt home to new jersey where i'd grown up and i was encouraged to run and finally i ran out of excuses. >> who encouraged you to run? >> friends >> friends i consulted with, local activist groups, people i had never met before who were involved in the political life of the district, and i kind of expected them to say no, this is not going to work.
you should support somebody else. but more and more people told me they thought i could do it, so i got over my initial limitation and went in. >> what are your priorities for next year? >> we need investment in infrastructure, transportation, we need to build a gateway tunnel between new jersey and new york the whole economy in eastern seaboard depends on that kind of infrastructure investment. i want to try to redo the tax bill that passed last year. it hurts states like new jersey estate of the deductions. i want to take part in efforts to stabilize the healthcare system and make it more affordable and i do think we have to exercise checks and balances when the administration goes too far or is attacking the justice department and fbi or