Washington Post: Eleven questions for Rep. Marie Newman

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Good morning, Early Birds. Will this be the weekend Theo finally makes an apple cake? We’ll let you know on Monday. In the meantime, keep those tips coming: [email protected].

🚨:Last night “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) embarked on an all-out campaign to finalize the legislation, wrangle sufficient support in the narrowly divided chamber and bring the debate over the long-stalled tax-and-spending measure to a close,” our colleagues Tony Romm, Marianna Sotomayor and Mike DeBonis reportHouse Democrats did not vote on $1.75 trillion bill last evening, but will move to hold a vote on Biden’s agenda as early as today.

On the Hill

Eleven questions for Rep. Marie Newman

Eleven Questions for … Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.): Welcome to our weekly interview feature, in which we talk to lawmakers, lobbyists, administration officials and other Washington characters. We chatted with Newman, a freshman who defeated Rep. Daniel Lipinski in the Democratic primary last year and who will face another lawmaker — Rep. Sean Casten — in next year’s primary after both of their districts were carved up by redistricting. (This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.)

The Early: What do you make of the election results in New Jersey and Virginia?

Newman: I think it’ll take time to truly understand what happened. Regardless of the outcome of those elections, it’s clear: we’ve got a lot of work to do. We are on the verge of passing President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which will deliver historic tax cuts for the middle class and alleviate inflation across the nation. We need to get this done, and we need to get it done now. If we don’t start delivering real results for the people, voters will understandably put their trust elsewhere.

The Early: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told reporters Wednesday morning that Democrats’ failure to pass the infrastructure bill and the larger health care, child care and climate change package helped Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin win. What’s your view?

Newman: I think it’s much more complex than that — it has to be. The reality is that most voters do not pay attention to the everyday dealings of Congress. Politics is local. And what we have seen is Republicans utilize racially coded attacks by falsely claiming critical race theory is being taught at local schools in an attempt to drive up turnout. And guess what? It worked for them.

The Early: Finish this sentence: The worst thing about Washington is _______.

Newman: Money in politics. I refuse to take corporate PAC money and it gives me a lot of freedom to be accountable to the people that matter the most: my own constituents.

The Early: You decried the influence of the “Chicago machine” last year in your race against Lipinski.Do you see the hand of the machine in Democrats’ decision to carve up your district in redistricting?

Newman: I’m sure it plays a role, but let’s be clear what the “machine” is. It is the good old boys network that protects entrenched elected officials who are all about holding onto power — not actually representing their constituents. Nevertheless, I’m sure the “machine” hates to see a strong, progressive woman delivering real results that make people’s lives better across the Southwest Side and suburbs.

The Early: You live in the new district in which Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) is expected to run for reelection. How did you decide to run against Casten instead?

Newman: More than 40 percent of the constituents I currently represent live in this brand new [Sixth District], and that makes up the largest chunk of this new district. Congressman Casten’s old [Sixth District] only makes up about 23 percent of the new district, and the remainder comes from four different districts. This is my home, and these are my constituents. It’s clear that from the third map, which included me in the new [Sixth District], to the final map passed in the midnight hours last week by [Illinois’] General Assembly, there was a deliberate effort to push my home just blocks out of this new district in an attempt to dissuade me from running. It didn’t.

Newman: “The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore. It’s about women who were exposed to radium in factories during the early 20th century, and their fight to strengthen worker rights in the U.S.

No labels

The Early: You’re a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s leadership. Casten is a member of the New Democratic Coalition. And Lipinski, who was perhaps the most conservative Democrat in Congress, has said he’s looking at running as well. Should Democrats view the primary next year as a choice between a progressive and a moderate (and a conservative if Lipinski runs)?

Newman: I’ve never been one too keen on labels — I look at results. I’ve been in office for 10 months now, and already I’ve introduced around 13 pieces of legislation, five of which have passed in the House, whether as a stand-alone bill or under a larger package. On top of my legislative efforts, my team and I have been on the ground on the Southwest Side and suburbs tackling district issues head-on. When voters in the June primary look at my record, they will see real results, both locally on the ground and in Congress.

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