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View Diary: We lobbied Congress IN PERSON to support Sen. Sanders Constitutional Amendment. This is our story (115 comments)

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    •  TRANSCRIPT HERE (15+ / 0-)

      I cleaned it up a bit for clarity.
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      Rep. Grijalva Speaks With Jesse LaGreca (Ministry of Truth) of Occupy Wall Street Dec. 8
      TRANSCRIPT
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      Rep. Grijalva (RG)
      Jesse LaGreca (JLG)
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      Cleaned up for clarity
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      JLG
      Thank you for the good work you guys are doing and just ask you a couple questions about stuff going through congress.
      To me, my number one concern is campaign finance reform. I think if you fix that, you fix so many other things.
      And I understand that it was a representative, how do you pronounce it? Doych [Deutch]from Florida?

      RG:
      Yeah.

      JLG: Who proposed the occupy amendment and I’m wondering what you think about it.

      RG:
      I think that on campaign reform, I go a little further than where my good friend Deutch is and some other people.
      I’m thinking it sailed through previous congresses but I think the mood of the American people, thanks to a lot of the efforts of the Occupy movement is such that they want a clean this mess up.
      And I would go as far as to say that a good reform package has to have public financing in it.

      JLG:
      Yes, I agree. Publicly financed elections

      RG:
      And but for now, full disclosure. Letting everybody know who are the people behind the money. Who are those corporations that are buying anonymous ads to attack other people? I think full disclosure, transparency would be a good thing. People are smart. They’ll be able to judge the motivations of the people behind the money. But in the long term, I hope that public financing becomes, it evens the playing field. And so, a person without a lot of resources or their own capital, stands a good chance to be able to compete for congress because everybody’s on the same field.

      JLG:
      And that kind a brings me to another question because I get a lot of people who ask me to run for office. And I’m not interested in campaign fundraising or anything like that. But what would you suggest to someone  who wants to be engaged in politics, whether it’s running for office or any sort of activism that could just bring some more transparency to this system.

      RG:
      I really believe that the best way to prepare for civic life, public life, whether it's electoral politics or not, is to have some values coming in. And I think we have a lot of careerists in politics that started, "Oh, I'm going to be an elected official." And that's all they bring to the table.

      JLG:
      Yeah.

      RG:
      And with that comes caution. With that comes not having strong opinions on anything. And I would, I think people, to get into civic and public life, have some values, have some values that represent people, and then become engaged in the community life of our communities. Become part of that community. Don't sit there, don't be a spectator, be a participant. Those are, I think those two things have, have been very helpful to me. And I think it in the long run it gives you the skill set that you need. Because this game of politics is about people. We made it a game of money. But it's really about people.

      JLG:
      It's something that Paul Wellstone said, you know the purpose of politics is to do better for people. And,  you know it makes me think of Senator Russ Feingold who lost his last election and he was a campaign finance reform guy. He never accepted corporate money. He got ran out of office by Ron Johnson, who flat out said, "I earn my money the old fashioned way. I inherited it." There's a massive disconnect. And,

      RG:
      I agree.

      JLG: I think people like you and I agree because I love when you bring values, because I like to talk about my values. My values are tight. My friends, my family, my community, my countrymen. And I would really like to see a reversal of Ronald Reagans nine worst words. I would like that, you know. It's not broken individuals, it's community, it's society. Even the cave men figured that out.

      RG:
      Even in the worst of times, and we're going through tough times in this country, and we're aggravating it by our financial and political decisions that we're making here in congress.  But even in the worst of time, people need each other. And this great country of ours has got out of the holes it has been in through, its people. And that's the best resource we have. And, unfortunately, that's the resource that is the least utilized right now.

      JLG:
      There are only two other quick questions I'd like to ask you.
      One was in regards to congressman Spencer Bachus brought up a amendment to address the insider trading in congress and Eric Cantor asked him to take it off the donket [docket] because it didn't go through leadership. I can imagine where you stand, but where you think the other colleagues in the Democratic caucus stand on something like this?

      RG:
      I think that the vast, vast majority of our Democratic caucus is going to be for transparency. It's a good thing and should be for sanctioning and penalizing people that abuse this position for their own personal gain, financial and otherwise. Yeah, you know Bachus is the appropriate person to bring that up. He's the one who got caught with his finger deeply in the cookie jar. In terms of knowing information that he turned into a profit for his own investments. It would be like sharing military secrets.

      JLG:
      Yes, yes.

      RG:
      Sometimes you receive information that's the proprietary of the institution and it shouldn't be used for your own personal benefit.

      JLG:
      My father was a Navy homesman during Viet Nam, and there's a saying, "Loose lips sink ships".  And that applies to [???] economic data.

      RG:
      And, I'll bet he did it. For Cantor to pull it off  is just an indication of, I think, the perverse equation that we deal with here. That what drives decision making in this institution, unfortunately.
      And I'm very proud to be here. I don't want to demean the institution, it's a good institution and it will be again.
      But we've let money and we've let very, very, very wealthy special interests dictate our direction. And I think the fact that they pulled it off is, as somebody said, "No, is that, that's part of how we get things done here ."
      I'll bet Bachus brought it up; he had to. He was the most appropriate one to bring it. And I just wish, that we need to go a little further, to sanction anybody that abuses that authority. To know information and use it to make a dime.

      JLG:
      I guess the one last thing I want to ask you is just to guys like me, the 99 percent, or the ladies or whatever, is there any message you'd like to share with us?

      RG:
      No, I want to thank you. I really do.
      We've been chipping at this rock in a variety of ways and I think, if anything else, the Occupy movement has done for this country, is that it's shown a very bright light on the disparity. But it's also showing a light on the issue of fairness

      I don't know who the genius was with the "99%" slogan, but it's absolutely genius. In that people connect with it automatically. You don't need charts and graphs. You don't need longitudal studies.

      I'm one of the 99% because I'm not the one getting the benefit of this great country of ours. And so, if anything, just to say, "Thank you." A lot of sacrifice, a lot of time out there. The ridicule has stopped. People are paying attention. And you've given good politics an opportunity to step up. And I appreciate them.

      JLG:
      Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

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