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tv   Interview with Representative Ruben Kihuen  CSPAN  February 1, 2017 7:45am-7:59am EST

7:45 am >> more congressional action on president trump's cabinet nominees, the senate judiciary committee is scheduled to vote on senator jeff sessions's nomination to be attorney general live at 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. scott pruett's nomination to be epa administrator is slated to a vote for the senate environment and public works committee. live coverage on c-span3 will get underway at 10:45 eastern. c-span is talking with freshman members of congress. here is one of the interviews. >> congressman ruben kihuen representing fourth district democrat nevada. you are not new to politics. how have you been serving? >> guest: i'm a freshman to the house of representatives but not congress, this is my 10th year in elected office. i started my political career in
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1998 as a volunteer for senator reid's reelection campaign the race of senator reid won by 420 votes. i got involved in politics, not with the eventual goal to run for office, to get a little bit of extra credit. never did i imagine that 18-year-old kid knocking on doors for senator reid would go on to become a member of congress. i started volunteering, got to a campaign job that led to a job to senator reid and running for office and here i am at it is an honor and a privilege to be sitting here in this office serving congress, the biggest honor anyone can have. it is a big responsibility. you are representing 700,000 people and they come here and get the job done, that is what
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i'm doing. >> host: what did you focus on in the state assembly and state senate? >> guest: i want to continue the same work in the state legislature but here in congress, making college more affordable, the state legislature, the first ever, we teamed up with the republican majority leader and we created the first ever grant to students. nevada is behind in higher education funding so that was one issue, you working in congress as people pay for it. i cosponsor a bill in the state legislature, hopefully in congress we can tackle that issue, raising minimum wage. if you are working full-time in
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nevada. and below the poverty level. we live in the greatest country on planet earth, you should be able to work full-time and make a livable wage. and other issues affecting social security and medicare, and immigration reform. i'm an immigrant myself. i was born in mexico. i couldn't speak a word of english. my story is the story of the american dream. you can accomplish anything and my family, people looking for that opportunity. >> host: what about coming as an 8-year-old not being able to speak english. >> i bring a different perspective. i remember living in mexico, playing on the streets of
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mexico, there wasn't pavement and being able to sit here in this building to have so much history, next door is john f. kennedy's freshman office is a big honor. you lived in poverty, you have been on minimum wage, you have lost a home, had of home foreclosed, when you see a mom working as a housekeeper in california, you have a bring a different perspective in congress. my parents are not former politicians, we don't come from a wealthy family. my parents are hard-working, you name the problem americans are going through right now we have gone through it. minimum wage, losing a home, being unemployed, i have been unemployed before.
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it is a demoralizing -- the feeling you feel helpless. issues americans are going through now, being here is not just looking pretty and giving speeches on the floor. it is sitting down and talking to your colleagues and coming to a compromise. whenever there is room for compromise, coming up with problems americans are facing today. >> host: without typical ways to win a house seat, some of the ways, how were you able to win and represent nevada? >> we did it the old-fashioned way where you knocked on doors. we were in a eight way primary. i was the first person to announce in march 2015, it has been two years since i lost my candidacy and the only reason is
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because stephen horseford, a former congressman in this area, lost reelection and any republican won the seat, preston hardy so he decided not to run again so i decided to challenge the gentlemen who beat him. i was the first person out the gate, the first democrat in the house and by the time filing came around seven of the democrats announce their candidacy and i knew it would be a tough race. i didn't have money for my own pocket. my name id was very low. most people don't know who their state senator is. we knocked on doors, we raced dollar by dollar, and got the culinary unit's endorsement which is very significant. one of the largest unions in the country in nevada. very influential. my mother is a 23-year-old
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member of the union and incentivize the reason, and senator reid has been a powerhouse for nevada. he has been championing nevada issues for many years to congress and it will be a big loss for us, for him to retire. we have his endorsement and that helped us get the credibility we needed and on top of that, i am knocking on 6000 doors the old-fashioned way, tennis shoes and shorts and jeans and a t-shirt and letting our message resonate with people in the primary, we should throw it to the general, one of the most expensive races in the country. for me to be here is a huge honor. i am happy to be here. >> host: the first latino to represent the state of nevada in the house of representatives. what does that mean to you?
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>> i wasn't running to make history or be the first. i'm running to make sure i am not the only one. other kids growing up like me lower income families, parents might be a housekeeper or farmworker, they too be a member of congress. and without being rich and politically connected able to serve. that is what public office is about. everybody should have an opportunity. if they want to run they should have an equal opportunity to run and now you have a congress that is pretty much controlled by multimillionaires and corporations was all these super pacs investing billions of dollars in campaigns. i did it the old-fashioned way. i got union workers representing working-class people of the
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country. it is an honor to be the first to serve in the house of representatives from nevada. more importantly now, another young latino or latina from nevada can say i can be ruben kihuen, we might have the first latino president and might come from nevada. >> host: you are serving because of the ronald reagan immigration policy. you were 8 years old when you came here. >> my father traveled for many years. never planned on staying here. eventually he stayed here, working on the fields of california, farmworkers around the time ronald reagan passed the first immigration reform of
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1986. my father took advantage of that. my father was one of those folks who benefited. he brought us to the us and my father's goal was never to have a son or daughter in congress which is goal was to have them have an equal opportunity. he knew in mexico that opportunity was not going to exist. we didn't come from a political family. my father was a teacher in mexico but teachers in mexico don't make much money. a taxicab driver here will make more money and so my father left his family back home for two years. a couple days ago when i got sworn in, this one is for you.
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that is what they wanted. one of their kids is a congressman. another one is an attorney. the other two have good jobs. we are living the american dream. we are the bottom end of the american dream. serving here in congress, now look back and in my district and all across the country, families going through the same struggle we went through and my responsibility now, to spend that helping hand and say i have been there and you are going to get through it because we will help you. people have to work for it, worked very hard like my parents. we never asked anything from anyone. it was an opportunity and we did. we achieved that american dream. so many families don't have that. >> thank you for talking to see
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stand. >> later today more debate in the senate on rex tillerson's nomination to be secretary of state. confirmation vote scheduled for 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> sunday, in-depth will feature a live discussion with author and political commentator nick adams. taking calls, eights and facebook questions during the program. >> to spot the cultural problems america might have right now, this is still by far and away the greatest country in the history of the world. >> nick adams is author of america:the greatest good, the american boomerang, how the greatest turnaround nation will do it again and retaking america, crushing political
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correctness. mister adams is the founder and executive director of the foundation for liberty and american greatness, an organization dedicated to promoting american exceptionalism and combating anti-americanism worldwide. watch in-depth live from noon to 3:00 pm eastern sunday on booktv on c-span2. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 see stand was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable and satellite provider. >> more congressional action on president trump's cabinet nominees, the senate judiciary -- more congressional action on president dropped's cabinet nominees. [inaudible conversat]


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