tv 116th Freshmen Profile - Reps. Casten Craig Delgado CSPAN July 14, 2019 5:22pm-5:54pm EDT
already overcrowded facilities." here is trumps a vicious manufactured cycle to criminalize emigrants and push and overcrowded system to a breaking point. and michigan's debbie ingle "with ice raids today, wanted to pass along information, it cannot be said enough about please know your rights. no one can enter your home without a judicial warrant. sometimes ice will try to show different papers, but it must be a judicial warrant from a court." newsmakers, jim bridenstine talks about the apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago this week. he looks ahead to u.s. plans to return to the moon and go to mars, and discusses president trump's goal to develop a space force. newsmakers today at six a copy and eastern. you can watch online or listen on our free c-span radio app. thann has spoken with more 50 freshman lawmakers of the
116th congress. we recently spoke with members representing the midwest region. first up, angie craig. a democrat representing minnesota second district. she is a former newspaper reporter and a small business investor. rep. craig: i grew up in a mobile home court in arkansas. i have lived life at all extremes. i have lived life at all extremes. my mom was a single mom. who raised three kids mostly on her own. we had lots of farms around us. my grandfather was a farm foreman appeared i grew up in rural america. i know what struggle looks like there. >> tell us about the struggle for your family. rep. craig: one of the things i'm most passionate about is making sure every family in this country has access to health care they can afford. that's because i grew up in a family that did not have access to health care themselves for a lot of my childhood. it is probably no secret that i have been working really hard to
make sure that we stabilize the affordable care act and work toward how do we structure health care to make sure that every american has access to it? host: how did you end up going from arkansas to minnesota? rep. craig: i ended up working for a medical technology company. i ran the st. jude medical foundation. a foundation that provided heart treatment for low income women. i'm sure that is no surprise, given my own childhood. saint jude recruited me from another medical technology company in tennessee. i moved from arkansas to tennessee when i was 18 to go to college. 60 miles from home. and i worked two jobs to put myself through college. just like my mom had done all those years before. my family looks like what every opportunity ought to be in america. that is that if you work hard, you ought to have an opportunity to earn a good life. host: when did you become
interested in politics? rep. craig: politics is interesting because i became interested in issues. i was leading hr for a fortune 500 company when the aca was implemented after 2010 and into 2012. i had seen what it looked like to implement the aca. inside an employer-sponsored health care plan, and i had also seen the number of people who, all of a sudden, had access to the health insurance system in this country. and so i became very passionate at that point in time about how can we make sure we fix parts of the aca? i saw the immediately too. and how can we make sure every american has access to high-quality health care? the other issue was very personal. my wife and i, we have four sons. we were married in california in 2008, right before proposition a -- proposition eight passed.
in 2012, minnesota was the first state in the country to say no to a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage in our state. i was part of that effort to stop that constitutional amendment behind the scenes. in 2013, we passed marriage equality. i had worked in the private sector for over 20 years but all of a sudden, something personal like my own ability to marry my partner, who i had four sons with, and the ability to make sure every american had access to health care came together and i decided why not me? get off the sidelines and out of the private sector and run. host: you ran in 2016 and lost in the general election. what did that loss teach you? rep. craig: 2016 was interesting. it was a tough year for democrats. i lost by 1.8%. it was the third closest race in the country where a democrat lost. i have to tell you, i was so much better in 2018 but not
because of any policy difference. i just showed up for who i am in 2018. i think the key to winning any seat in congress is just being yourself, being authentic. my first ad of the cycle started "my wife and our four sons." i came at it much harder at who i am and what i believe in. at the end of the day, i don't like to call myself a politician because i have spent so much time talking about what i believe in and what kind of country we can build together. and so, it's just an honor to serve this district. host: how are you and your wife balancing life out here? four children, are they still in the house or are they older now? rep. craig: my wife and i have four sons. one is still in high school, a rising junior feud -- junior. the other three are out of the house. two are in traditional four year colleges. our oldest is working in a trade skill.
one of the things you will hear me talk about a lot is rethinking our postsecondary education system. we have to make sure people know there is not just one path. i get afraid sometimes when democrats, when others talk about free four year colleges, that we are reinforcing to folks that college is right for everybody. and it's not. i'm so proud to be a mom for whom, her son, his path was advanced manufacturing. he was the one who took the engine apart in the driveway every afternoon. he needs to work with his hands and he's really good at it. host: what committees are you on and what are your other priorities out here in washington? rep. craig: i'm on two committees, transformation and infrastructure as well as the ad g committee. i was waived onto the house committee of small business. in has been a little surprising to me but it shouldn't have, just how fulfilling it has been
over the first 4-6 months. as i said, my grandfather was a farm foreman. he lost his job in the 1980's farm crisis. i know what it is like to lose your way of life, not just a job. having spent over 20 years working in international markets and trade, i think i know more than most what it looks like when farmers just want a fair price and they want markets. that is what i have enjoyed in getting to know the farmers in my district and advocating for them. host: how many do you have in your district? rep. craig: i don't know off the top of my head. [laughter] host: primarily, is the district rural? rep. craig: geographically, it is 50% rural. but it is suburban, it starts in
the southern part of st. paul and it moves into this great rural farmland. it is not just farmers that are in our district. it is the economy that is produced around those small family farms. the truth is we are losing them at record pace. losing them at record pace. host: what are some legislative accomplishments for you so far? rep. craig: i am proud of hr-1331, that is the local water protection act. that will allow us to have additional grant dollars to battle pollution in our cities and our counties. they are allowing those grant dollars. the other piece of legislation has not moved beyond committee yet is hr-1425. that is the reinsurance program that would allow us to stabilize the individual marketplace. it is not the only answer we need for health care in this
country today, but it is part of the answer. i am incredibly pleased with that. some of the prescription drug bills that have passed the house have been incredibly important. finally, personally, i believe hr-1 is the most important piece of legislation we have passed. i wish the senate would take it up. because until we are able to make sure that special interests are out of our way in this town, it is going to be difficult to do what my voters sent me here to do. >> sean casten is next, he is a democrat from illinois who represents the sixth district. he is a biochemical engineer and an entrepreneur. he previously served as ceo of two energy recycling companies. host: where were you born? rep. casten: dublin, ireland. host: why? rep. casten: my dad got back from vietnam, went to business school at columbia, and got hired by a guy who had an investment in a cattle feed lot
in ireland. they live there for four years as newlyweds and i was born have through.h good -- my father is no longer in the business. it would not become his career. host: born in ireland, your family makes its way back to america, where did you land? rep. casten: we went to columbus, indiana. lived there until i was six. and then we moved to the suburbs of manhattan. i basically grew up there all through high school. host: what was your childhood like? casten: i went to a high school, in 1968, it became one of the first high schools to mandate bussing to desegregate.
i went to high school in 1971. flightme an early white high school. even though we were westchester county, affluent suburbs of new york, my high school was 50% african-american by the time i got there. when i was in first grade, it wasn't. i ended up being in a very diverse school in a place not normally known diversity. host: do you think that had an impact on you? rep. casten: every experience you have as a kid, you think is normal. it seems exceptional when you're not a kid. did it have an impact? i'm sure did. but that's how you grew up. host: was your family political, involved in politics? rep. casten: not particularly. my dad fought in vietnam. both of my parents were from rural colorado and were the first generation to achieve things.
their families were good people but small-town people from colorado. my grandmother, my mom's mom, her best friend in world war ii was a japanese woman. at the time, a lot of her neighbors were internment camps, so you learn a lot about the fabric of those people. my mom worked as a teacher at a n all-black school in north carolina and then in harlem. in the course of growing up -- my parents went to ireland and just before they left, one of the students knocked on the door and says my mom will let you have me if you want. and then they let thomas in. in the course of growing up -- at my mother's 50th anniversary
-- birthday party, we allowed anyone who had been in the house more than three months and more than 50 people showed up. so, they weren't involved in politics but they were involved in being generous to those who had needs. >> what does that say, her philosophy on that? rep. casten: we just took for granted that was what you do. this wasn't a philosophy or an agenda. it wasn't a plan. you had someone who said can you help me out and she said yes. she continues to do it in a lot of different ways. that was the house i grew up in. >> what does your dad say about his service in vietnam and how do you think that impacted you? rep. casten: my dad enlisted out of college. he was there -- back by 1965, 1966. this was before it became as politicized as it would later become. he went because his dad was in world war ii. his grandfather was in world war i. it was of the generation that
every generation had gone and done military service. my dad was in the marine corps in the corps of engineers. to the extent that i talked about it, he quickly became convinced it was a mistake and we were staying too long. but was not politicized by it. just it was not clear why we were staying there. he was home before things got really ugly. >> after high school, you went on to college. what did you major in and why? how did you get interested in that field? rep. casten: i majored in molecular biology and biochemistry because i always wanted to be in politics. [laughter] that was good times. i enjoyed it. i didn't know what i wanted to do. weirdly, i didn't want to be a doctor. everyone else in my major was premed. i wanted to do something environmental. i felt like, if i'm good at biology -- biotech was just getting started.
i remember reading about this company in florida that was doing industrial scale composting. i said, i don't know, 80 there is something there. i went and did that. i got out of school and, even though i didn't want to do medicine, i was working in the research lab. i spent two years in cancer research in boston. and then i felt like if i'm going to do this industrial biotech stuff, i need to go back to grad school. i went back to dartmouth and got a degree in biochemical engineering. >> for the rest of your career, what did you do? rep. casten: i got a job at a technology consulting firm. in their alternative energy proud this. -- practice. because of the stuff i had done on the chemical engineering side, designing devices that could convert gasoline into hydrogen, a lot of neat alternative energy stuff.
i did that for three years. and i gradually became concerned about global warming as the central challenge of our time. and increasingly convinced that there were tons of companies that had technologies not ready for prime time that were hiring us as consultants. the were also tons of companies that had proven technologies that could not figure out how to sell them. i sort of felt like if the companies that have mature technologies can't figure out how to sell them, maybe it is a business problem. i left to take over a small manufacturing company in massachusetts with a proven technology that was twice as fuel efficient as the electric grid. 60, 70 projects while i was there, and then i moved to
chicago and started doing the same thing on a bigger scale. and did that for another six or seven years. that brought me to selling the company in 2016. trump happened and here i am. >> how did you become a politician? rep. casten: we are all still wondering. i'll let you know when i become one. [laughter] >> what prompted you to run? you said it was the 2016 election? rep. casten: over the 16 years i spent as a ceo of clean energy companies, if you are building power plants that are more efficient than the grid and cheaper to run and save a ton of money for your customers, you are a threat to the existing electricity monopoly. as a small player in the space, what do you do about that? i ended up founding a trade association in new england. to try and affect public policy at the state level.
and then became the chair as sort of a side job while i was running the company in illinois. they did the same thing in washington. i spent a fair amount of time trying to get legislation passed on the hill that would ensure a competitive environment to people who could provide competitive value in the clean energy space. i knew washington as a place where you went to try to get good laws passed. i didn't have any experience as a politician. i'm not sure how many successes we had. i became more and more convinced -- i knew there was no thermodynamic laws that prevented us from doing what we did. we had sold any project. -- 80 projects. i knew ther were no economic laws that prevented us from lowering co2. united states laws blocked us from doing more of it. when we sold our company, i was chatting with some of my
colleagues. they pointed out to me that if there are three sets of laws, only one can be changed. having a rise in climate change denial in washington and having a president who has never acknowledged it as such, i felt like maybe i could make a difference in the public service realm. >> now that you are on the other side, what have you been focusing on while you are here, pertaining to clean energy? what legislation have you put forth? rep. casten: i'm on the fair climate committee. i'm the co-chair for the climate task force. the biggest caucus in washington. it's on the house side. i have been trying to focus on legislation that recognizes -- this is a weird thing to say. we have hundreds of billions of dollars we could spend on assets that would modernize
our energy infrastructure and lower the cost of energy and put more money in people's pockets. and lower co2. in the construct of washington politics, that is a hard, how do you possibly pay for it problem. in the context of every other job i have had, it's an investment opportunity. i've been trying to work on policies that will change that. for example, we have a bunch of energy storage assets i'm trying to put in place. wind and solar go up and down response to weather, there will be an asset that increases the value of those assets because we won't have to ramp up more inefficient power to balance the load. we have a number of bills we are working on that are designed not to use federal dollars to spend money but to remove the barriers that exist from the private sector employing capital dollars in the space. because once you get people with the ability to act out of their own self interest, they will
always build an asset that is cheaper to operate rather than one that is expensive. but there are barriers that block from do that -- from doing that. >> antonio delgado is the newly elected representative for new york's 19th congressional district. it is located in the hudson valley and catskills. he is an attorney and former hip-hop artist. >> where were you born? rep. delgado: new york. >> what was your childhood like? rep. delgado: fun. lots of love. my family was working-class. --y faith-based feud faith-based. we spent a lot of time in church. spent a lot of time camping in upstate new york. spent a lot of time just enjoying life and the environment and the outside. it was a good time. also, a time where studying was very important. schoolwork was important. my parents pushed me to stay on top of my books. they believed that if you get a good education in this country, you had a good chance to get
ahead. i have very fond memories of my childhood. >> who were your parents? rep. delgado: my parents were hard working. dedicated, loving and determined to see me succeed. >> where did they come from? rep. delgado: my parents came from -- my mom is from upstate new york. saratoga. my father came from boston. they grew up in pretty rough neighborhoods. but through hard work, they found their way. they had a dream that their young kids would live better lives. >> where does your faith come from and do you continue to follow that today? rep. delgado: yes. i'm a spiritual person. i do believe that your meaning and purpose in life can be derived from a sense of connecting was something higher than yourself. i think my parents, based on how
they were brought up in their homes and communities, felt the same thing. they wanted to pass that down. it's traditional in a sense that you have to believe in something to some extent if you want to overcome obstacles in life. not just as an individual but as a part of a community that has seen marginalization historically. >> you mentioned education was important to your parents. you went to college where? rep. delgado: colgate university. >> and you play basketball, tell us about that. rep. delgado: the last time we went to the ncaa tournament was 20 years ago. i think this year's team was the first team to go since then. it was awesome. that was my first love. i remember saying i wanted to go to the nba when i was eight. he said, you're not going to the nba. he literally broke down all of the teams and said here are all
the players on each team and did the math and you said you have a one in a million chance to make it. your best bet is to try being a doctor. that was my childhood. but, i love basketball to this day. >> you played with a future nba best ballplayer. rep. delgado: i did. adonal foyle, who has done a lot of work in the space of democracy. a really good guy. thentroduced me at commencement address at colgate, i gave the commencement address at the bicentennial year of the school. to be able to connect with the students and flashback to 20 years ago and see myself out there like them and now here i am as a congressperson, it's pretty amazing. >> after college, you moved to california and you were in the music industry. tell our viewers what you did. rep. delgado: i left my parents scratching their heads. i graduated from law school and had a bunch of student debt over
my head but i wanted to figure out how to connect with young people and speak through hip-hop culture and talk about issues that matter to me and i think are still relevant today. income inequality to wealth disparity to gender inequities, climate change, police brutality, all the things were the things i was talking about in my music. i wanted to platform and i thought there was no better platform than hip-hop music. it was not a monetarily successful endeavor. i slept on air mattresses, ate cup noodles daily. i was a parking lot attendant for a while. at one point, i was the janitor for a department building. my parents were certainly supportive but a little bit concerned about what i was doing. in the end, it was fulfilling and rewarding. >> i skipped a couple of important steps. you did go on to harvard law
school and you are a rhodes scholar as well. rep. delgado: yes. which is why my parents were scratching their heads. >> when did you start rapping? at what age? rep. delgado: my first love was singing. i was singing with my mom with her church, i was in the choir. i was always singing. and then i was in an r&b group in college, which went nowhere. i was really into writing poetry. my english teacher, my ninth grade english teacher, mr. o'bryant was the first person to introduce me to poetry. so i got into that. i've always been writing poetry. it wasn't until my college years that i started to rap. and try to actually speak the words to a beat. it kind of took off from there. i didn't take it serious as a career choice until i got to law school. and i really started to figure
out for myself what i wanted to do coming out of law school. at that point, i didn't see law as the space for me to have the kind of impact that i wanted to have. >> do you still rap today? rep. delgado: no. i don't. i certainly think about things i like to say or write about. i just don't have the time to actually write. most of my time is thinking about how to help my constituents and make sure i am serving their needs. we have a lot of things to focus on, from health care to infrastructure to rural broadband, the opioid epidemic. it is a lot and i am excited to have the chance to serve the community that gave me and my wife so much. we are both from upstate new york. that takes up my time. >> tell us about your wife. who she is and the documentary she made. >> i could go on for too long
about my wife did -- my wife . this same day of the same year and grew up in our apart. it was love at first sight. she was asking for volunteers for a documentary. without batting an i, i raised my hand without knowing what the documentary was about. she is incredible, a force of nature. her story is remarkable. she grew up raised by white didn't findts and out until she was in college that her mother had annexed or marital -- mother had an extramarital affair with an african-american. she made a documentary unpacking that secret with her family.
sitting down with her mother and father, and getting to the bottom of her truth. a lot of courage. it's the same sort of courage that has, throughout the course of our partnership, guided us on our journey. >> the documentary she made? >> it is called "little white lie." it's an amazing film. a testament to her internal fortitude. she is a force of nature. betweenout the secret her parents. dealing with difficult conversations. so much of her identity and so much of who we are sometimes is trapped in the closet. particularly when your parents not honest with you, have you engage in that conversation and do it on film? the first time she spoke to her
father, the man who raised her, thinking he was her father, it was on camera about this issue. she created the dynamic and put yourself in the vulnerable position. i think a lot of people have looked to the film as a way to find their own sense of courage and internal fortitude with confronting difficult conversations. >> can you give us a little rap? >> i can't. [laughter] while.'t done it in a it is a different time. >> explain that. >> i don't look backwards. i'm looking to the future and thinking about what needs to be done to move forward. are locked in on new york 19, and what i can do for the the only way i conserve the way
i want to surface to get out there and think about how we can build a better future, think about the vision we can restore for announcer: new congress, new leaders, follow it all on c-span. >> michelle price who is a political reporter for the associated press, and she is here to talk to us about iowa and nevada caucuses. here to tala who areda caucuses going to vote by phone, which will be a new process to them. good morning. guest: good morning. host: tell me about what this changes for iowa and nevada. why are they changing to go to vote in caucuses by phone. guest: both of these states are trying to address the mandate from the democratic national committee that any state offering a caucus in 2020, as opposed to a primary, needs to find a way to open it up to more participation.