History on Capitol Hill: Meet some of the new, history-making Democratic members of Congress

Before taking Capitol Hill, Congress' newest lawmakers came to Salon Talks

Published January 3, 2019 12:37PM (EST)

Ilhan Omar; Deb Haaland; Harley Rouda  (AP/Getty)
Ilhan Omar; Deb Haaland; Harley Rouda (AP/Getty)

As the 116th Congress is sworn in on Thursday, Democrats will retake control of the House of Representatives. Salon is revisiting our recent interviews with some of the newest members of Congress.

The excerpts below are from Salon interviews and “Salon Talks” episodes, which can be watched in full through the links below. The nation’s newest lawmakers shared their goals for America with us while on the campaign trail, explained what they will bring to Washington, and reflected on making history by becoming the first elected officials across specific race, gender and identity lines.

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1. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D- Minnesota – One of the first Muslim women elected to Congress

“It was never about winning, right? It was about changing the narrative on what's possible, changing the narrative about refugees, immigrants, women—all marginalized communities.”

Watch Rep. Ilhan Omar on SalonTV.

2. Rep. Harley Rouda, D-California Defeated pro-Russia incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher

“We know damn well if a Democratic president was doing anything along these lines, one-tenth of these things, these same Republicans would be clamoring for investigations and impeachment. Yet, here they sit on their hands and fail to do what is right for our country.”

Watch Rep. Harley Rouda on SalonTV.

3. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York—The youngest woman ever elected to Congress 
“I look forward to the day that being largely bankrolled by lobbyists is a disqualifying characteristic for a politician. I look forward to the day that everyday people start asking, ‘Where do you get your money from?’ And that’s happening. It's going to start happening more and more.” Read Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Salon interview.

4. Rep. Katie Porter, D-California Flipped her Republican Orange County district blue

"When I talk about issues like the importance of after-school programs, when I talk about investing in special education, when I talk about making sure that we have clean air and clean water to keep our kids safe, those are personal issues for me. It’s that passion and that connection to those issues that I can bring as a mom, as a professor, as a working mother, that I think's gonna engage more and more people in this political process.”

Watch Rep. Katie Porter on SalonTV.

5. Rep. Max Rose, D- New York Turned Staten Island, New York City's most conservative borough, blue

“Why is it that we have to live with politics that are so hyper-divisive today? Why is it that we have to send elected officials on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the aisle, down to Washington, D.C., who it looks like they care more about their social media presence and where they're going on cable news than they do about actually solving a problem?”

Watch Rep. Max Rose on SalonTV

6. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico One of the first Native American women elected to Congress
“When the current administration rolls back environmental protections, it affects all of us. It doesn’t just affect Indian tribes, it affects every single American in this country. We have to care about the government’s job and how they are protecting our environment. I would fight tooth and nail to ensure that the EPA hires the right people and that it doesn’t cut funding.”

Watch Rep. Deb Haaland on SalonTV.

For more of Salon's insightful video interviews with newsmakers, politicians, artists and more, tune into SalonTV, streaming daily on YouTube, Facebook and Salon. Subscribe to SalonTV's YouTube Channel  to receive notifications about new episodes.

By Alexandra Clinton

Alexandra (Lexie) Clinton is Salon's Executive Producer.

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