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tv   Interview with Representative-elect Pramila Jayapal D-WA  CSPAN  December 20, 2016 3:02am-3:12am EST

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incoming members of the 115th congress when they came to the capital for their orientation. here is a look. >> representative elect jayapal, tell us about your background. myresentative elect jayapal: parents had about $5,000 in their bank account and they use the entire thing to set me here for college. i feel like the opportunity i had to go from that 16 year old girl by myself and now getting to serve as the congresswoman from the seventh congressional district is really the american dream. i think that is why i have devoted the last 25 years of my for otherghting people to have that opportunity. >> you are a democrat from washington state. what impact did that experience you had as a young girl have on who you are today? >> a huge impact.
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it is my i have spent so much time working on immigration reform policy. that is what i have done for the last 15 years. i served in the washington state senate right now. i am the first south asian american woman to be elected to the house of representatives. i think for me, it brings forward so many of the issues that immigrants across this country are facing, certainly in the trump administration we will see a lot of efforts to roll been workinge have towards, but i also think that deep desire of people to have the opportunity that includes the founding values of this country, i feel it so strongly. sometimes i think i feel it more strongly than just the person who is next to me who has had that their entire life. it is an incredible honor. >> why do you think it is that you thrive id in that situation as a young girl? >> i had an incredible family. my parents still live in india.
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i have never been able to have them in the same country, but they raised me with an ethic of working hard and really trying to strive to make society better, not just for my own life. but i also think i had a path into the country, in terms of our immigration system with the student visa process. the we had very little money, we did have some money. some of it is what i was given and some of it is what i was taught, but not everybody has those same opportunities. i recognize as difficult as my past seems sometimes, some of the people i have worked with have had a much harder past. my role really is to try to ease that path forward of opportunity for all working americans across the country. >> what do you parents think now today as you are elected to the house of representatives? >> well, they are so proud. my father does not travel, but
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when mother does and is coming for the swearing in. we watched the video today and i got emotional thinking about you know, this place i am in, the opportunity to represent 750,000 people and what it means for my parents who sacrificed so much for me to be here. i can tell you, my mother is going to be in tears through the swearing in ceremony. but i think all mothers who are watching their kids achieve something, and when we think about the future of the country, had we make it so all mothers know their children have opportunities. that is how i tried to connect it back to the work at hand. plan -- how do you plan to balance your life with your family? >> we say we live in the best washington, washington state. i have to say that on camera. but i have done that for quite some time because i have worked with the federal government and
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congress on immigration reform. this will be every single week. i have an incredibly supportive the family. my son is grown, in college. it is really important for me to go back as much as i possibly can every weekend and possibly can, even if it is a long flight. to me, it is what allows me to stay connected to the district that elected me to make sure i am listening to constituents, to make sure they have an we arenity to know what doing. and i am an organizer at heart. organizers know that talking to people, helping to build our movement for the kind of country we see is the most important thing. i will spend every moment i can back in washington state, not only because we are the most beautiful state, but because it is an opportunity to connect with people. >> have you figured out where you will live out here? >> i have an apartment about one mile from the capital. that should give me a little bit of exercise. i am excited to -- i went to
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college here in washington dc at georgetown university when i was 16 years old. it feels like i have come full circle and i get to expire the city i started my life in america in. >> are you going to have a roommate? >> my husband will be my roommate when he is out here. i'm quite happy to have my own place. >> before your political career, what did you do? >> i actually had a number of different careers. i worked on wall street, i have a masters in business. i left that to work in the nonprofit sector. after 9/11 i started what is now the largest immigrant advocacy operation in washington state. before 9/11 i spent 10 years working on international public health and international development for an organization based in seattle. we were expanding health care around the world for families. families and other countries. i have sort of had three different careers. the legislative one is my
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fourth, but i believe as long as we are learning and growing and continuing to try to do good for the most people possible, and i am doing right. >> what committees would you like to serve on in the house? >> it is really difficult for a first-year member. so, we say what we want and then we see what we are given. i would love to serve on the judiciary is because i have experience in this area. we registered 23,000 new folks to vote in washington state. in this country this is one of the most important things. i also would love to be on workforce education. i have been a lot of work on early education, free college, affordable college, and key 12. i served on the opportunity gap committee. foreign affairs would be fantastic. and then of course, we talk about select committees, but it is unusual that first year members get on those. but energy and commerce has so
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many different pieces to it that are relevant to the district, including dealing with climate change and environmental policy. we are so proud we have so many renewable energy businesses in our state, so much work that has been done on hydropower. health care, we have a booming health care industry in our state. those are all issues that down the road i hope i have an opportunity to serve on. >> your short time here in washington dc in that time, what sticks out to you? >> i think what sticks out to me the most is the tremendous honor. it sounds a little corny maybe, but it is a curse to me. there has only been 11,000 people who have served in the house ever. and to be one of those people and if you are a woman or minority, it is even fewer that have served in the people's house. i think the opportunity to affect policy in a way that really benefits people's lives, the opportunity to actually be
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able to provide a pathway for people where they may not have seen it before. and in this particular moment with a very divided country, and deep disappointment on our side of the aisle for many people it is an opportunity to stand up and fight for the values that we know to be absolutely fundamental to american democracy. pal,epresentative elect jaya thank you for talking to c-span. >> thank you. >> next, air force secretary issues lee james on posed by russia, north korea's nuclear program, and therefore as presidential transition -- and air force presidential transition preparations. this is one hour and 15 minutes. >> before i go any further i want to give a couple of shadows here. first, i want to give a shout out to the lieutenant colonel.
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oh, he is taking his coffee break. he is my guy and he is not here. but he is your air force fellow this year at the atlantic council and he told us on the way in just what a fantastic experience this has been for him. if i might say, it is a fantastic experience for me to come back to the atlantic council. i was on the board here. as well as having the opportunity to come back, i think it was january of 2015, if i am not mistaken, when i had the opportunity to come here as secretary of the air force. it feels like a homecoming. and frankly, i cannot imagine a better place to come to on a morning like this when we are about to have what i hope is going to be an important conversation about the role of the united states generally, but i will zero in on the role of the united states air force specifically in the transatlantic security picture.


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