Former Congressman Steve Israel


After serving in Congress for 16 years, former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, shares why inaction on gun reform provoked him to leave Congress and take on a second career writing novels and teaching. His second and latest novel, “Big Guns: A Novel,” is a comedy about where guns, small Long Island towns and Washington politics meet. Israel, who left Congress right before the Trump administration moved in, says that he mourned dozens of mass shootings while in office, but unfortunately, nothing changed. "The number one question that I faced, and virtually all of my colleagues after every one of those shootings, was when will Congress do something,” Israel told Salon. “I wanted to explain why in this book,” Israel continued, “through satire, snark and honesty.”

Israel also opened up about another frustration, constant fundraising and “dialing for dollars.” "If you are in a competitive district in an expensive media market, you've got to raise about $30,000 a week. That's about 30 hours a week on the phone,” he shared. Watch the full conversation above to hear more from Israel on why the Parkland shooting could change the dynamics of the entire midterm elections and why he thinks moderate Republicans are bound to lose. Tune in for SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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