Tell Trump: Respect us

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Incoming Congresswoman Nanette Barragán is a Democrat. She represents Southern California’s 44th congressional district, including working class communities like Compton, South Gate and San Pedro. She talked with KCRWs Saul Gonzalez about what she would tell President-elect Trump.

Congresswoman Nanette Barragan: I would tell him that he needs to start to dial it back. He needs to respect women, immigrants in our communities. We have seen his rhetoric on the campaign trail extend into his time as the president-elect. Just this week, as you know, he is attacking John Lewis, one of our icons. It’s just not a way to go as a president. We need to unify the country, not continuing to divide them, and I think that’s important. Myself, as a daughter of immigrants from Mexico, I think that he needs to see the value that immigrants bring to this country. I think that it’s an uncertain time. I don’t think that anyone knows what he’s going to do; both Democrats or Republicans, and I am hopeful that we will see some shift, some change soon. Unfortunately, we just haven’t seen it, yet.

KCRW: What do you think you can possibly accomplish as a new member of Congress? You are in a congress where your party is in the minority. Your party doesn’t control The White House now, the Presidency. So, what do you think that you can do in your first term?

Barragan: Well, first of all, I think that we need to make sure that we have people like me that are going to stand up to Donald Trump. When we agree with him, where we can find those areas, great, but we have to make sure that we stand up for our values and having people there to fight back. Whether it’s on the Affordable Care Act, whether it’s protecting our immigrants, we need to have folks there and I think that’s important to start with.

KCRW: What do you hope to accomplish for California during the Trump Presidency?

Barragan: Well, for my particular district, which is a 70 percent Latino district, I want to accomplish protecting our immigrants. That’s one of my top priorities. We have seen the President-elect threaten our immigration population, all of our immigrants, by undoing and threatening to undo DACA and the protections there. I am going to stand up and fight for them. Whatever we can do, there’s been efforts right now in a bipartisan basis to try to come up with legislation to protect them.   That will be amongst one of my top priorities.

I have the port of Los Angeles in my district. There’s been talk from the president-elect about a transportation and infrastructure bill. I am going to look at it really hard to see what is in the details. Making sure that if something is going to pass, we try to get what we can back for the port, for the district. There are a lot of areas where we are going to be looking very closely where if we can find something to make progress, we will, but we are not going to stand back and stand down from our values. It’s going to be a hard fight. There’s no doubt about it.

What would you tell Trump?

(Photo: Flickr/David Tansey)