Rep. Doris Matsui is focused on preventing the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back protections for pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act. She’s also paying close attention to how the administration handles immigrant children and families in detention centers.
Matsui stopped by the Insight studios for a conversation with Beth Ruyak during the July 4 recess last week to talk about Justice Kennedy’s retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Trump Administration’s challenge to the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act and the difficulties around reuniting immigrant families separated at the border.
For an extended version of Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s conversation, click below.
On why she remains hopeful — even in the face of family separations at the border and the country’s history with internment camps
I always have hope, and this country is always — I think it forgets a lot of its history, which we really should start looking at, and as we always look toward the future, always remember that we have some principles — we have a Constitution — and we need to look at what is happening today to ensure that we don't go back to the time when we are so protective, in a sense of separating people. This whole concept of ‘the other’ — because I guess we're such a wide, open country — has confronted us throughout our history. It's happening again today. But what I believe is that more people are standing up to say, ‘Wait a minute. That is not who we are. That's not the face we want to show to the rest of the world.’ Because we've always wanted to be a beacon of hope and in order to be a leader, we have to demonstrate that principle ourselves here in this country.
The thing about Justice Kennedy is that he is a Sacramentan and he's a McClatchy grad. … … Sacramento values, in a sense of, being part of a community, understanding what it means to make sure that the community is home with you and understand your neighbors. And he brought that to his career and, you know, he's always somebody who believed in the individual, individual rights. He's a Republican. He's a conservative. But he also understood the human side of things, too. So I think in a sense if you look at his career — I mean, I don't think he ever believed he'd be a swing vote. It happened to be that way. And I think he took a lot of time deciding on what he wanted to do. Our family connections, you know, I I look at him and realize that he is really someone that Sacramento should be proud of. There were decisions that we didn't agree with, but a lot of the big decisions were so important to this country.
On the Supreme Court’s Janus decision
I think people forget why unions were established. The unions were really responsible for the development of the middle class. If you go back to why people had to band together, you look at some of the places where people had to work, you look at the places where they would have factory workers in horrible conditions and no safety, horrible hours. And people realized that you couldn't go on this way. And so unions were developed. It was the development of the middle class. Now today people seem to forget that. Now the Janus decision was specifically harmful for public unions. ... I just feel that without the unions — and I think that they'll figure it out obviously — but without the unions I think the middle class has really lost, they’re losing probably a tool. And I think that's really very important.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. It was adapted for the web by Cody Drabble and Kacey Gardner.