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tv   Interview with Representative Nanette Barragan  CSPAN  February 7, 2017 7:40pm-7:51pm EST

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did not respond. >> i did not. >> the gentleman is out of order. >> let the gentleman yield. i think we need to come down here a little bit. >> all c-span program are available at either on our home page or searching the video library. >> c-span's talking with freshman members of congress. here is our interview with nanette barragan, a democrat from california. >> congresswoman nannette barragan representing california, democrat. tell us what you were doing before he ran for office. >> well, i was serving on the city council where i lived. i was practicing law. i had just gotten out of a fight, fighting an oil company that wanted to drill 34 injection mills into the santa monica bay. so that's a long fight and
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recovering from that bring got into this race. >> why law? why did you go into law practice? >> so when i was a kid my parents were poor. and my mom said you're a doctor or a lawyer. that's the only way you're going to get out of this world. and when i see blood, wanlt to pass out. so it was pretty easy for me. >> why did your parents say that? why do they have the outlook? >> you know, they just -- you know, they were not educated. my mom had a third grade education. from what she saw, you know, she came up with. that i don't really know how that happened. >> your parents immigrated from mexico. is that right? >> both of them, yes. >> what was that like for them and what impact do you think that had on them and how they raised you and your siblings? >> they came here for a better life for their children. so we would have that opportunity. and you hear the stories about how they struggled when they got here. and how they were working hard to make sure that we could go to college. and, you know, latino families,
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it's customary that you take care of your parents. and so that was one of their hopes. and for me, seeing their struggle has -- their own service, my father was a tv repairman, i sometimes he would go and he would fix tvs and people would say i can't afford to pay you. you would say that's okay. and that was i had form of service. so for me, it's always been about paying back what i was able to get. and so that has had a huge impact. now that i've made it, it has been about what can i do to help create opportunities for others? and expand that opportunity. because in my district, only 10% of students go on to college. >> what about your siblings? you were one of 11? >> i am the youngest of 11. >> yes. >> what was that like growing up? >> it was a very packed house all the time and very loud. i sometimes speak loud. people say i'm right here.
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it's okay. so it had quite an impact. it made me when i got to -- when i graduated from high school, it made me want to go away. and live in a small town. so i actually went to davis for my first year of undergraduate. which was very different than los angeles. but came back after a year. my father was ill at the time. >> was your family able to join you for the swearing in? >> yes, we had about 14 members of my family come out. so it was a big group. and it was my mother's first time in washington. she's never been here before. so that was real special. >> what was her reaction when she found out you won and to be here for the swearing in for her youngest of had 11 to become a member of congress? >> it was pretty emotional. i mean how my mom come and she's very emotional. she cries a lot. and then i cry. there was a the lot of that happening when i won and coming
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out here. she was scheduled to have hip surgery. and should put that off so she could be here for the swearing in. >> what was the immigration process like for your parents to come to the united states and then how do you think that shapes your outlook on immigration policy? >> so i remember as a kid when my mom was studying for the exam, my father was a permanent resident. he never became a citizen. din i didn't learn until after he passed. he passed when i was 23. i do remember my mom and studying with her. i would ask her the questions. and how many stripes are on the flag? how many stars? and so i saw firsthand as a kid what she was doing. i didn't quite understand at the time until i got a little older. and know firsthand because i'm an attorney and i represented immigrants that were in danger
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of being deported how important it is. so seeing her go through it, seeing her become a citizen, she's a huge voter. always believes in making sure she votes. really impacted me and in my ability to not only vote but really to understand the importance of what it's like to have the privilege to be a citizen here and because i've been a lawyer, i've seen people being deported, i have family here who has come. a lot of them stayed at our house when we were growing up. i've been through the process. some still living in the shadows. others are the products of immigration. so immigration is not something i'm learning, i live immigration. >> for your siblings, did some of them migrate with your parents or were you all born
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here? >> i have two brothers that were born in mexico. >> so what was the process like for them as well? >> there's an age gap between my parents. i didn't -- i don't remember witnessing what that process was loor like for them. i just remember my mother going through her process. >> and this is something you plan to work on out here? >> absolutely. you know, i ran on the fact that we need immigration reform. now when i was running, i think the -- we all believed there would be a different outcome. and so i think the objectives have changed a little. the goals have changed a little. as opposed to getting comprehensive immigration reform, i think the focus is how do we protect people that have come out under daca? how do we protect folks? we're going to continue to focus to get comprehensive immigration reform but given the status of the houses and the president, it's going to take a little
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longer i think. >> talk a little bit more about your district. what is it look like? who lives there? what do they do? >> so the district is runs from san pedro and the port of los angeles and then goes through working class areas, compton, carson, south gate. it's 70% latino. and it's very diverse. we have the port of l.a. in the district. we have a lot of shoremen. immigrants across the area, croatian community, italians, mexican-americans. and so for me, it's actually a benefit that i speak spanish which campaigning to be able to talk to folks. i knocked on doors there. >> and who and what groups supported your race for the house? >> we had a lot of diverse support. we had support from the congressional hispanic caucus in washington. we had womens' groups, emily's list, naacp, we had
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environmental groups. sierra club, league of conservation voters. and then we had people who believed on sending someone to washington who is going to fight for them. and that's what we do. we ran a campaign on my story of, you know, i'm the daughter of immigrants from mechl koechlt i beat the odds. i got a piece of the american dream. and now i'm running to make sure you have that same shot. and it started with that personal story. and then we went into some of the issues and the differences between my opponent and i. but really was a story of hope. and at a time when you had a very divisive presidential election, people wanted hope. and it's something that wins, right? people want to know that they have opportunity for their kids. >> how will you put those words into action out here legislatively? >> well, i think part of it is protecting immigrants and families and trying to keep them together. because they lost hope. and that's what we're hearing right now. what's going to happen?
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so we're going to try to find efforts to protect those families. i think there is also for my district, it's one of the most heavily polluted districts in the country. and we talk about it as a public health crisis. the asthma rates are high and impacts their ability to be in school. then you only have 10% graduating. so it really is a cycle after dressing not just the environment but the public health issue. but education, it impacts education, making sure we try to invest in early childhood education and trying to find ways here in washington to find some common ground, build coalitions. so i think there's so many areas, you know, trying to
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invest in youth groups and the port of l.a. being there which is a huge economic engine in the district that creates opportunities for families. >> is that where most of the jobs are in the district? >> there is a huge district? >> there is a huge amount, at the port. there is a lot of talk about transportation and infrastructure funding. if we can get money to come to the district for bridges, ports, roads, that's all creating opportunity. for me it starts with education and it certainly starts with health because, if they're too sick to go to school, then you have a cycle there that won't work. congresswoman, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. >> congressman tom suozzi, representing new york, democrat, third district. tell us what you were doing before you ran for this seat. >> i was trained originally as a lawyer and certified public accountant. i worked for arthur andersen and company and i clerked for the chief judge of the eastern district in the federal courts.


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