tv 116th Freshmen Profile - Reps. Hern Trahan Garcia Van Drew CSPAN February 23, 2019 1:11pm-1:50pm EST
>> on sunday, being the winter meeting of the governors association continues. they would talk about technology and education programs. it begins at 9:00 a.m. eastern right here on c-span. democratic senator elizabeth moran participates in a campaign organizing event in new hampshire. 2:30coverage begins at p.m. eastern, right here on c-span. 116th congress includes many newcomers, but also lawmakers with diverse backgrounds, including a former franchise owner of mcdonald's. you have referred to yourself
"freshmore" what does that mean? in the majority for that amount of time? got his newssman job last year so the seat was they can. under law, he finished the term for the two months and then will flip over. >> what were you doing before you >> became a congressman? -- before you begin a congressman? >> i have been a businessman my whole life. i own a mcdonald's franchise for 22 years. estaten banking and real
banking and technology companies. we have a total of 1000 employees. inundergraduate is engineering. i was working when the space shuttle blow up and the industry changed forever. i got into the mcdonald's franchise business in 1987. i worked 10 years but my first restaurant. that is the last time i received money from anyone else. i signed my own paycheck. >> what does that mean for you? >> there are very few people who can actually say that i grew up in extreme poverty, spent time at school. i lived on food stamps and i made a tough decision that i would never take another dime
from the federal government. . have worked my entire life i put people to work. i hire from entry-level to executive level over the last 22 years. it has been a relief to see people work. said greater social program was a job. we need to create jobs. when we have jobs, the economy does better. >> is there a moment from their childhood that stands out in your extreme poverty that you ofnk shapes the mentality jobs in social programs? >> we live in the greatest country in the world, a country that allows a person like myself to the united states congress. who would've ever thought that? people i grew up with that still no today sending me emails
asking me who would've ever thought. i want to represent those folks to never give up on the country regardless of the politics. in my short time here, what businessa typical acumen doesn't apply here. you have to learn the new process. politics is different than business. i am learning as i go every day. >> tell people how you grew up. >> my dad was military for 22 years. when he went to vietnam for the third time, my mother didn't she remarriedand person who didn't like to work. i spent the rest of my time from seven to 18 living in poverty. i was the oldest and i decided that when i graduated high school i would never do that again. i have lived under food stamps and in every tax bracket. work still matters.
there is nothing better than a reciprocity of working hard and getting a paycheck. we look at people in that decision and you envy them and despise them and i am the them. >> who were some of your role models. ? >> some of those who grow up the way i do. grow verya man who poor and ended up being the head of a fortune 500 company. i admire people who have worked hard in this country and achieve the american dream regardless of what that is. unfortunately, we always got money being the benchmark, but success -- success comes from lots of things. i have been very blessed.
>> pottage end up in oklahoma? >> the -- how did you end up in oklahoma? >> from my mcdonald's franchise. politics andabout it was the first time i got involved. i never had any intention of running until a couple years ago. >> what prompted it then? >> i just got tired of people coming to washington saying they were going to do things and never did it. i have been a person who has taken advantage of the american dream. i want to give back. i am a doer. i want to tell my kids and grandkids and that they can tell there's that not only did you have a father and grandfather who talked about things, but wanted to make a difference. >> idiot fisa former senator gave you? >> -- any advice from the former
senator that he gave you? >> work hard, try to make a difference, never let this place change who you are. i very resentful of each other. we have 435 members from all we have to find out what really matters, and that is about moving this country forward. if we always keep that in mind, we will be in a better place. >> have you made the phone call yet? >> not yet, but it is pending. >> some new members worked in washington before running for office, like the democrat from massachusetts who was chief of staff for former democratic congressman marty meehan. a scrappyscribed as overachiever, why? i grew up in a working class
neighborhood. my dad was an iron worker. mom spent her childhood in an orphanage and in foster care. up ringing.st i went to public school my whole life. i got a scholarship to go to georgetown to play volleyball. that put me on the path i am on today which is why i talk about education all the time. to get through a tough primary race. i don't mind describing. >> you worked two jobs as a teenager, why? >> i was taught to work. there were things that we wanted. i played for a volleyball team that traveled around the country. if i wanted to do that, i had to contribute to it.
i was out delivering the local newspaper, which wasn't uncommon. everyone in my neighborhood growing up had some job that they were doing, whether it was thesitting or shoveling or local diner. i worked at the diner in high school. campaigncourse of the -- dino know how much were making at 11? >> it wasn't bad. i was making $40 a week. job.s a great first >> you got a scholarship to play volleyball at georgetown. what about sports? what about it shaped what you are today?
me manage my time because if you wanted to do well in school and beyond a team, you have to make all that work. you do learn time management early on. how to function with a group of people. you loon -- learn those things early. being competitive and understanding how to win and how to train to get yourself into a better position to win. ofelopment of all sorts muscles, but such logical -- psychological and physical gl. >> in applied sciences. i was a latin american studies major'twas my focus. it was a great program.
>> u.n. on to do what? >> -- you went on to do what? my dad was diagnosed with ms while i was in college so i came home. i did a community service project. rail thathen a service takes many forms. -- that was when i realized that service takes many forms. metas through that that i my then congressman and apply for a job in his office. withinto washington months of graduating. toyou're not unfamiliar washington. what did you do? what lessons did you learn about
serving in washington? >> i worked for congressman marty meehan, a democrat from the same hometown i grew up in. jobs ind and i had many the office both here and in massachusetts and eventually became his chief of staff. i learned to never forget who you are there to serve. we spent a lot of time in the district listening and working with community leaders, state and local officials to try to bring funding where we could back home that week could use to leverage private investment. halls sonumber of town that we were properly represented here in washington. that got tof a team pass partly campaign reform.
legislation.rk i realized how difficult it is to get cosponsors, especially if it is going to be a bipartisan piece of legislation and how to go through that process. uber. also worked for what did you do? was -- were interested in getting more women drivers. we work helping them to figure what the obstacles were. i am a very pragmatic person. i became a uber driver to see firsthand what maybe some of the obstacles were.
it was fun to go through that process. talk about your childhood and pants, but what influence did they have on you? >> my parents were incredibly loving and they were very hard workers. ethic that the work my sisters and i have was a result of my parents. my mom worked while raising us. my dad, when it was work in massachusetts or boston, he would leave home and go work in long island or maine for a year. we understood the relationship between supporting a family and hard work. my family was such a supportive unit. my mom and dad were tremendously supportive of everything my sisters and i do. , when are 45 years old
did you realize you were a democrat? wavering in my family. i grew up in a working-class city. i'm sure my name is were democrats and my dad helped organize his unit at tot -- union at times. my parents both fostered a lot of debate at home and how the made us read the newspaper so we were silent at the dinner table. we all debated and discussed. my parents passed on democratic ideals. it was a gritty, urban gateway city. the neighbors that i had and the
community i grew up in learned how to take care of each other. done the same with your 8-year-old and 4-year old? do you discuss issues with them >>. ? a littleear old is young. the campaign we just went through, my eight-year-old was interested in the process. she probably doesn't understand some of the democrat versus republican. we don't frame things that way. i don't center that on party labels as much as this is what one side will say and this is what the other side. but she has an opinion on most everything. >> how are you managing your life back home? >> my husband has been terrific.
and hass ageless limitless energy and so does my y aunt.- might no all very close to me and we are making it work. >> 20 germ on think when you decided to run? you aboutthey told winning the seat and serving in the house of representatives? >> my mom will to you she wasn't surprised. , with a lot years of companies across the world and helping more women get into look atip roles, when i congress and saw the demographics hadn't changed since i left in 2005, i don't think she was surprised that i wanted to be part of a wave of
women who came in and changed the optics of congress and made it more representative. this was an unbelievable year for women but also a change for me. i never thought about running for office. when i was a staffer here, it wasn't a dream of mine. the 2016 election did change that for me. massver you have critical is coming to washington, there is opportunity to change. that is what attracted me to this. i know from my time in the private sector that better decisions are made one more women are at the table. is jesus garcia, who represents the fourth district in illinois. he migrated from mexico as a small boy and want to work as a county commissioner, city councilman, and served in the
what was it like for her and for you as a nine-year-old? >> reuniting with our dad who was working in chicago, supporting us, sending money back home. visiting us as much as he could. it was a difficult time for my mom and for us because we would not have him around. my mom did everything to raise us well, to provide for us. it was a bittersweet moment. on one hand he reunited with my father. on the other hand it was tough to leave our small village where my mom was known. she sang in the choir. she helped people learn how to read and write in the towns around hours. she was a very loved person. leaving was difficult. mostly leaving my dog back in my little village. it still makes me get sentimental at times. >> what do you remember from
that experience? >> it is very vivid. i remember getting out of the station wagon my uncle who picked us up at the border to get to chicago. when i opened the door and the wind kicked me. chicago is known as the windy city. on that day i felt the cold air cut their my small jacket that was inadequate for chicago. that was my introduction to 28te bitter chicago -- bitter chicago morning. it was a welcoming to a city that i have come to love and to the city 52 years later would see me running for mayor of that city in 2015. i have lived in almost the same community since i arrived in chicago. it is a very vibrant, working-class, family-rooted
community. it remains my community of choice. >> why did your parents want to live in america? what did they say about being here in the united states? >> my father came to this country because we do not have the means to live a good life back in mexico. we only had a small, small plot of land. it was not adequate to provide the things my father and my mother wanted us to have in life. he took a chance, took a risk like many immigrants who have come to this country. he found a place he thought could provide a better way of life for his children, provide them with more opportunity and in that regard i am the first my family to go to college because of the public school system, the university's illinois -- universities in illinois. obviously being able to come to congress as illinois' first
mexican-american congressman is a great honor. it is a part of the american experience and american dream for this immigrant boy to come to washington, d.c. >> when and how did you become a citizen? >> i became -- i applied in 1979. i took the oath of citizenship in 1980. i was working as a paralegal for a legal services office in chicago helping people become citizens, helping people filed applications to immigrate to this country. i asked myself, isn't it time that i become a citizen? so i did and it opened up a journey in my life that led me to public service, to being an elected official at the local level, the state level, the county level, and now with the federal level. what inspired you desire to be a public servant? >> my desire to be a public
servant comes from my mother, who was public minded. someone who sought to make a difference in the lives of other people. even as she only had a third-grade education, she taught many people around our village and on the outskirts of the rural areas how to read and write. she would travel to these places to show people this had no salary. people would get her things. they would give her a chicken or a piece of cheese or a bag of beans as gratitude for the new world they came to experience by learning how to read and write. she was cynically engaged. she sung in the choir at her church. she volunteered in the schools. she sewed costumes for me so i could perform as a young child. the vocation to be a public servant comes from my mother and -- the motivation to be a public servant comes from my mother.
when i first heard the calling to make a difference to create movements for social justice, i was inspired by the actions of people like dr. king and cesar chavez. i never stopped hearing the call for justice and the call for public service. this is where it has brought me to the u.s. congress. >> what offices have you held? --t from those experiences how do those experiences help you in washington, d.c.? >> my first public and civic engagement activities included getting involved in my local community to fix up a run down movie theater. the build new schools in the neighborhood. to create support systems for new immigrants who were coming to the community. that put me on a pathway where i've had the privilege of being a city councilman in chicago, a chicago alderman.
firstone of the mexican-american selected to the city council. i was reelected three times. i have a great fortune to be sent to the illinois state senate as illinois' first mexican-american state senator. andve a chance to break in teach the ropes of the senate to a fellow you might've heard of named barack obama when he arrived in the illinois senate. you never know what encounters you will have with fellow citizens, with neighbors. i'm glad to say i played a small role in teaching him the ropes of the illinois senate. i have also served on the cook county board of commissioners in chicago. of course i served -- i have begun serving in congress. i have been here for a whole 2.5 weeks as a member from illinoi'' district. >> what advice did you get to state senator barack obama that you still follow today?
>> i told him to make sure you don't stumble upon arriving. i taught him some of the protocols of the senate. he also claimed to have similar values to me. i showed him who to look out for in the illinois senate. i suggested he reach across the aisle, which he did very successfully by working with republican leaders and other members of the house who were in the majority at the time that he arrived. i had no clue he would have the type of rise that he did to become the state -- the u.s. senator and then of course the president of the united states for two terms. you never know what kind of encounters being an elected official will give you. that is one of the most positive ones. >> new jersey has sent jeff van drew to the u.s. congress.
the worked his way from the general assembly to the state senate, and now the u.s. congress. >> he spent decades as a practicing dentist. how do you go from dentistry to congress? >> and unusual practice and that that -- i was a councilman, the mayor, county commissioner, and assemblyman, state senator. of time i wasriod still doing dentistry. it gave people results. it forced me to the technical medical things. in politics nothing is technical. in that way it was different but it was always fun. >> which job is tougher? >> dentistry is technically very tough. it was very technical stuff to get a sense of it.
, theyeople see the drills go about 500,000 rotations per minute. you have to be delicate and have good hands, good eyes. kind of like a surgeon. you have to make sure you know how to apply the anesthesia. that part is tough. rule, everything works out because it is science. in politics, i maintain him was nothing is a science. you never know how things are going to work out. even if you do absolutely the right thing, it doesn't work out the way you wanted to. >> when did you first decide to run for elected office? practice i was first president of the society. i was an expert for the state board of dentistry and involved
in a lot of dental things. i ran for counsel, which is called township committee in my hometown. yes, it in a routine way, but not completely. i knocked on every door of the municipality. when i say every door, i don't mean 90% or 80%, or 99%. i knocked on every door. some doors twice. some doors even a little more. the area i come from is a very republican area. yet, when you look at them eyeball to eyeball and you talk to them and listen to them and talk about the issues, they don't care about party any more. they care about issues affecting the townships. >> what should people know about
the second district of new jersey? >> gets every diverse. i don't mean ethically and culturally. it is diverse in so many ways. it is huge. about 40% of the state of new jersey. there are eight counties in my district. 92 towns. it is a huge, large area that can take hours to traverse. it is different. the western part, the western part of cumberland county is rural. a lot of farming and agriculture. a lot of large open spaces. which is much different than say atlantic city and pleasantville. that is much different than say cape may and other parts of atlantic county where it is really tourism driven. it is very victorian and old-fashioned. it is a wonderful place.
>> with all those differences, what do you do as a member to represent all those interests is best interests? -- all those interests? >> put yourself in their shoes, your head and there had. understand what they are going through. whenever problems with the nuclear plant or a chance in my close in salem county on the border of delaware. that is one of the major income drivers for the area. that matters and you have to understand that. you have to realize offshore drilling kidney a great deal -- can mean a great deal to people to ocean counties or along the coast. they are concerned about the tourism areas and keeping the water safe and here. -- peter. -- and pure. urban andtle bit more
has a large hispanic community. in atlantic city there are large communities of everybody. vietnamese, bangladesh, agents, pakistanis -- asians, pakistanis. they have their own issues because they are new to america. they want the american dream. part of your job is to help them achieve that american dream. what you have to do, as different as all the areas are, is a microcosm of the country itself. you have to make sure you are working to try as much as you can to make everybody's dream come true in different ways. issues andifferent different problems in different environments. >> what is your political style? >> to the a little bit of a
rebel. i just don't always love when people say you must go along with your political party every single time. your political party tells you to do something, you do it. i believe you can have a political party. our founding fathers, this amazing place, were men and women walked so long ago before us. they were not so much worried about republicans and democrats. they were not worried about being good republicans are good democrats. they were worried about being good americans. that is what i am worried about. i want to be a good american. >> where did you learn that style from/ >> from a lot of different people. dad, who was not in politics at all. he would talk. he would have different views in
different points. sometimes he sounded like a republican, and sometimes he sounded like an independent and sometimes like a democrat. that's a good thing. it shows thinking and doing something different. i don't know that we as human beings should just go and automatically do everything automatically and do what were told. >> within the next two years what you want to get done? >> i really hope first of all to get the government open. i think we need to be more flexible. the government opened before we deal with poor security. i'm willing to deal with border security. at the same time our party and the president. you know it's most important to me?
their american men and women that don't have money in their pockets. that can't pay for their food at their table. they can't buy new diapers. not that we -- we need to compromise and work together. to me what is important is bipartisanship. working with republicans and democrats. with is important -- to meet what is important is flexibility. the american people regardless of whatever political parties may think. making sure offshore waters, we medicare healthy, whole in a good shape. all those types of things are important to me and many more. >> what committee are you working on? >> the space committee. agriculture. that will matter a lot because nobody from new jersey is on the agriculture committee, believe it or not.
i really hope to be able to do a lot. people don't realize how much agriculture there is a new jersey. we grow so many foreign -- cranberries, lee varies, peaches, tomatoes. varies, but it's one of our top five industries. everybody think it is big pharma and high-tech and financial. fishing is another huge issue, and tourism. it is the third-largest industry in new jersey. those jersey issues are very important. i really hope to fight for them. i will fight for our farmers, not only in new jersey but around the country. >> how many terms you plan to stay here? >> i have no idea. the people make a decision, i don't. this is what always said. i will work as hard as i can.
i will give it everything i have. on election night i said i would work very, very, very hard, and i am. leaders.ngress, new follow it all on c-span. today, democratic senator elizabeth warren participates in a campaign organizing event at plymouth state university in new hampshire. live coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. eastern right here on c-span. next, we hear from diplomats and government officials about the u.s.-mexico-canada trade agreement and how it is impacting businesses. they spoke at an event hosted by the canadian-american business council in washington, d.c. some bigp we will have picture questions about why trade matters for consumers and business and jobs