Behind the Desk: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11)

Behind the Desk: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11)


Going home always re-energizes me
because I get energy from my constituents in a place I live which I
think is appropriate and then coming back here is trying to remember that
that energy has to fit in a much larger context in the United States of America. Well I’ve done my own therapy on why I
do so many of them and I always have when I was in local government I did
them at the state level and then now in Congress. Obviously a much bigger response
since the election than I’ve ever seen before in terms of people’s interests
and the depth of their knowledge you can see it growing about what happens here
and what doesn’t happen here is. It’s spectacular for me who’s been at this
for a while and been used to 25 to 50 people coming to a town hall and most of
them are my generation or when I was younger same generation older people so
to see young people engage is really important and having tried to engage in
what are the best practices for civic engagement? All the research shows you
not surprisingly that the earlier somebody’s interested in government the
more likely they are to be civically engaged for the rest of their lives.
And lastly just having a reference for American democracy it’s the essence of
American democracy you are a member of the United States Congress and you’re
making yourself available to everyone to walk into a room and
challenge you and and challenge you in a civically respectable way. Oh well it
always helps if you’ve done your research. It’s not always a good thing to
go in and I’ve had some people say why don’t you vote against the Supreme Court
nominee and you have to explain to them in front of 500 people that you’re a member
the House of Representatives and the Senate does that so it’s it’s good that
people are engaged but we need them to be further engaged as they go through
the process and understand how the process works so that like anything the
more knowing that people that this isn’t a full-time job this is representative
government so they’re not supposed to have the same level of interest or
knowledge that I and my staff do but to the degree that they have an interest in
that a little research online is helpful. Well the two things is they should be
real and they should tell their authentic stories and then they should
do their homework so I had a group of community college students come in here
last week very diverse very articulate and they boom just said the cost of
textbooks is too much. California’s done all this great stuff
in terms of making community college more accessible so that we could get an
attractive four-year degree and maybe a graduate degree but this is what it
costs of textbooks why is that? So that’s a good question and basically there’s
the status quo of the publishers of textbooks the cost that sometimes a
conflict of interest with the administration we’re trying to work
on that so this is an example of being very effective both in the storytelling
and being real but also having specific ask. Now I have behind me a gift that was
given to me 25 years ago and as a local government by personal friend and it
just it’s it’s over here to remind me I’m supposed to listen to so I think it
cost about 10 bucks but it’s been very valuable.

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