On Sunday, June 3, 2017, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) spoke with Bros4America co-founder and political commentator Alex Mohajer, for an interview for the Bros4America podcast. Waters is running for re-election in this November’s 2018 mid-term elections out of California’s 43rd congressional district, with a primary election hurdle to clear on Tuesday June 5th.
The full transcript is below:
[Alex Mohajer] Alright, she is reclaiming her time and we are so grateful that she is gracing us with a moment of hers during this very busy campaign season. Californians are taking to the polls for primary elections this Tuesday, June 5th and vying for re-election in California’s 43rd congressional district is the inimitable, the prolific Congresswoman Maxine Waters who is joining us from her home district campaign office in Hawthorne, California where she just ended a lively meet and greet event with millennial voters. Thank you for joining us today, Congresswoman Waters.
[Maxine Waters] Well, I am so excited. We’ve had a wonderful day. We had a group of millennials here who did some tweeting and we did some talking and we just had a lot of energy in the campaign headquarters. So this has been a good campaign day.
[AM] Yes! And I thought it was really interesting. There was a 15-year-old here. She was talking about her concerns and then you had an 85-year-old woman who first voted like many decades ago and had her original voting card. I thought that was very cool, that you had such a cross generational presence here. Do you feel like that’s a unique part of your campaign?
[MW] Okay. Well, you know, the woman that you’re referring to is someone that we’ve known for a long time who’s been a volunteer who’s worked, uh, you know, with the new frontier of Democratic Club and I didn’t know she was coming today and so she came and, uh, as I was standing there beginning to open up the discussion, I thought about, uh, this may be interesting to have this woman who’s 87 years old, uh, say something about when she first started voting and getting involved and I think it went over very well and some of the young people, they’re gasped when she told them something about what it meant to vote back then and how there were barriers to voting. And so it worked out pretty well.
[AM] And then there was this 15 year old girl and she was asked, what is your, you know, what, what are you most concerned about? And she said, I’m concerned about going to school and getting shot because of gun violence in schools. I thought that was very striking that the young people so young as 15 or like worried about that,
[MW] Well, you know, it is an obvious problem in this country and the Parkland children have to really define the fears that they have about attended school and they’re challenging the elected officials and their parents and everybody else, uh, to do something constructive. They are learning a lot about the NRA and what has been happening with this issue and I think they understand very thoroughly now, uh, who is blocking a opportunities for fixing this problem. So yeah, it’s awful of the young people be afraid to go to school, but many of them are.
[AM] And you’ve been an outspoken advocate for women and children and minorities for a long time. You have been in the United States House of Representatives since 1990. And before that you were in the California Assembly since the 1970s. So being in public service for so long, do you feel that there is a change happening when we see the #MeToo movement and the March for our Lives movement and the and the Resistance and Indivisible and all these groups, are you heartened by that or do you feel like there’s more that needs to be done?
[MW] Well, I’m heartened by it because I think I have observed a lack of citizen participation over the years. Uh, I can recall when the women’s movement first started at, I worked with Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, patsy mink and all these wonderful women. And then, you know, uh, the women’s movement. I literally just kind of died out and some of the younger women at that time were beginning to talk about their careers and, you know, the children and uh, being, you know, both a career oriented and having a children to take care of and all of that. And uh, there was kind of a negative attitude about women being so aggressive and women talking about taking non traditional jobs and demanding equal pay and all of that. Um, but now it’s back. The movement is back maybe in a little bit different ways, uh, but when you saw that march on Washington, but over 700, maybe 750,000 women, men, women and children and families then you knew that something big was about to happen in this country and women were about to take their rightful place in our society no matter the law, uh, that I had a basically thought about for so long.
[AM] And we thank you. I mean, it’s, it’s really amazing to hear your perspective on this. And many Americans first came to know you this year because during a hearing the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin ran into you and you reclaimed your time. Can you tell us a little bit about what it feels like to have that, like that spotlight thrust on you?
[MW] Tell you the truth. I was very surprised that it went viral because “reclaiming my time” is the order of business in the Congress of the United States. It’s not original. It is said often by different people at different times when you’re trying to get back the time that you have been allotted to speak and someone else is kind of, uh, uh, intruding or imposing a on that time.
And so I was surprised. I was very surprised that it went viral, but then I began to understand after talking with people what it meant, it meant something different for everybody. We had a wonderful little depiction of a little girl at Halloween time and she was dressed like Maxine Waters kind of in a little suit and she had a pumpkin and she had on a ‘Reclaiming My Candy’ [blouse].
And then I had someone talk to me about a divorce they had gone through and how they had suffered following this divorce and not been able to really get their life back together again and reclaiming my time for them [was saying] “it is time for me to get up and go. It’s over.” And so people have described, you know, how they’ve been treated on the job. One person said to me that the boss calls a staff meeting, you know, like five minutes before time to go home and it runs over and it’s a, you know, on their personal time that they should be leaving to go home. But they said, I’m reclaiming my time, I’m not going to any staff meeting that’s called that. All kinds of things went on. And so I think that it struck a nerve and I think that it struck a nerve because here you had Mnuchin, our treasury secretary who had been, you know, the owner and CEO of a big bank and here you had an African American woman, you know, sitting on this committee and not accepting his rudeness and not accepting business as usual and challenging him…
[AM] Using parliamentary rules…
[MW]…Using the rules, that’s right. And so I think that after talking and listening and seeing it repeated over and over again and now seeing it on t-shirts and cups and dresses and all kinds of things…
[AM] I have some of those myself.
There’s an entire generation of people who call you Auntie Maxine.
[MW] Auntie Maxine, that’s right.
[AM] How do you feel when you hear that?
[MW] I’m fine. As a matter of fact, I, I remember when I first read about it, uh, when a journalist, uh, that was with Elle Magazine wrote about it, Eric Thomas, I believe that’s his name. And he kind of started that and he wrote about my attitude somewhat and about the attitude of kind of women like me who maybe your aunt that comes to your house and begins to turn everything around and who has the audacity to say what’s on her mind and all of that. So it’s cool. It’s cool with me. I, I, it’s all right. And I feel absolutely flattered when I’m called Auntie Maxine and I’m now being introduced that way. Uh, several introductions I had today is I’ve visited five churches in the community. Uh, I was introduced. So two of them at least as Auntie Maxine.
[AM] You know, we were driving over here and my colleague Thomas McAbee, we’re, we’re just calling you Auntie Maxine, like “we’re going to go down and see Auntie Maxine. And he has a question for you, actually, so we are going to go to video.
[Thomas McAbee] Hey Auntie Maxine, a quick question for you. I feel like that the democratic base is facing kind of a resistance fatigue. I think America is, is becoming desensitized to all the monstrosities that are coming out of this administration. How do we fight that? How do we keep the base energize and get them to turn out in November? And then on top of that, how do Democrats get their message across when everyday there’s another headline breaking news and trump just sucks all the oxygen out of, uh, the media. And how do we, how do we combat that and make sure that our message of healthcare and education and, and clean energy and environment through. So your thoughts on that would be greatly appreciate it. I’d love you so much and I’m fighting for you. And uh, I can’t wait the, for your victory in November. Bye!
[MW] Bye-bye! Thank you so very, very much. A, the question, oh, questions that you’re raising are ones that I’m hearing. I’m often now and uh, I’ve been thinking about it an awful lot. And so even today where I made presentations in several of the churches, I start my presentations. We’re talking about Democrats and who we are and what we stand for, what we’ve stood for historically and what it means, uh, you know, to be a party who cares about the least of them. And uh, in doing that, I’ve mentioned that it was social security that was started by Democrats and I mentioned it’s, it’s, it’s Medicare and Medicaid, uh, that’s been supported by Democrats. I talk about veterans. I talk about education, talk about the infrastructure and jobs. I basically talk about the democratic program and you know, is pretty traditional, except we have to define it a little bit better and talk about what are the obstacles to us, you know, being able to achieve on behalf of all of the citizens of this country.
[MW] So if we do that, if we do that every time we get up to speed, every time you write, every time we have an interview, then I think that we will be able to get our message out. We can’t ignore what is going on in Washington DC, but I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. And so we talk about what we care about, what we’re doing, what we’re going to do when we take back the house or when we take back the presidency. But we also talk about the fact that this president, uh, is, um, is someone that does not deserve to be president. That his actions are deplorable and that we deserve better than this. And we do believe, uh, that he has colluded with Russia. And we do believe that he’s obstructing justice before our very eyes. And what an insult to talk about, being able to pardon whomever he wants to pardon, even himself if he is found guilty of something. So, uh, I do think that we can do a better job of it. And, uh, we keep pushing toward that effort.
[AM] Thank you so much, Congresswoman. We know you’re busy. You’ve got a busy campaign schedule. You were so gracious for allowing us some time to speak with you. And, uh, personally, I, you know, we support you and we love you. Thank you. Thank you for joining us.
[MW] Thank you for being with us today. I’ve enjoyed talking with you and your enthusiasm and I love your energy. Yes. And your energy. And that’s what we do. We get around people who have energy and energize us and keep us going. Thank you.
[AM] Thank you. That’s Maxine Waters. She’s running for Congress, reelection in California’s 43rd. She is prolific. She’s amazing. Check her out at Maxine Waters for Congress.com.