One-On-One with Congressman Raul Ruiz
In his first 40 days in office, freshman Congressman Raul Ruiz is already shaking things up in Washington. Video by kmir6.comvideo
COACHELLA VALLEY - In his first 40 days in office, freshman Congressman Raul Ruiz is already shaking things up in Washington. Our 36th District Representative spoke with KMIR6 News Anchor Thalia Hayden about the challenges and excitement he's facing, while working in the House of Representatives.
Congressman Raul Ruiz admits he's ruffling feathers on Capitol Hill. He's already crossed party lines twice with his vote. But the freshman representative says he refuses to conform.
His message to the 36th District is pretty clear:
"No matter if you're a child who grew up in a trailer with parents with no education-- that you can work hard and achieve that American dream," says Congressman Raul Ruiz.
And Ruiz says he has taken that message to Washington D.C.
"I understand that a lot of career politicians do this for a living so they can climb the political ladder and get fancy titles in front of their names, that is not my intention at all," says Ruiz.
Ruiz is rolling up his sleeves, and getting right to work on the issues. He doesn't have time for party games.
"You have people in leadership positions who have been there for a long time and have gotten accustomed to very partisan ways of thinking," says Ruiz.
In his short time as Congressman, Raul Ruiz has crossed party lines, and voted with Republicans on two issues--- the GOP Debt-Limit bill and a request that the President turn in a balanced budget.
"Being in Congress- the need to have bipartisanship, is that much more evident, and we definitely need to move beyond the language of gridlock and confrontation," says Ruiz.
And even if his decisions are making waves---
"I don't pay attention to how I'm received by others. I want to do the right thing for my district," says Ruiz.
Ruiz says he's using a lot of the same skills he used when going through medical school. He's getting to know who he's working with and trying to learn from the best.
"I look to see who has characteristics that I can learn from. Those that work with both parties, those that are reasonable and pragmatic, and in line with the way I want to legislate. You learn from so many different people. You learn from Republicans, you learn from Democrats. I'm looking for effectiveness," says Ruiz.
And is the President one he's learning from? Has Ruiz met Obama yet?
"No, I haven't had face time with him. I was at the inauguration which was very historic," says Ruiz.
But Ruiz did share this:
"Four years ago, I saw the inauguration on my couch. Four years later, I'm seeing it live- sitting up there with the rest of the congress people- seeing an inauguration live. It just doesn't stop to amaze me how great our country is," says Ruiz.
And as much as Ruiz says he's enjoying Washington D.C.---
"This (Coachella Valley) is my home. This is my magic. This is my strength. When I need to regroup, I come here," says Ruiz.
The Congressman says what excites him most about life in Washington, is having access to the Library of Congress. He loves history and books.
Thursday on KMIR6 at 11pm, Representative Raul Ruiz takes aim at gun control. We also talk about immigration law and a topic he says is the most important issue America faces today.