Dennis Kucinich on campaign finance reform, drones, Middle East peace and political change in the US
- Year: 2013
- Length: 9:29 minutes (8.68 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
In Washington, dozens of new lawmakers were sworn in at noon today, when the 113th Congress began. The new Congress brings a record number of women, people of color and LGBT legislators to Capitol Hill, including South Carolina’s first black senator, and the first female senators from Massachusetts and Nebraska. But many long-serving, influential figures won’t be returning this year. Some, like Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, Texas Republican Ron Paul and Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, chose to retire. In farewell addresses this week, Snowe and other outgoing lawmakers suggested that they could do more for the country outside of Washington.
“It is regrettable that excessive political polarization in Washington today is preventing us from tackling our problems in this period of monumental consequence for our nation. I intend to work from the outside, to help build support for those in this institution who will be working to re-establish the Senate’s roots as a place of refuge from the passions of politics, as a forum where the political fires are tempered, not stoked.”
Other lawmakers, like Ohio Democrat and two-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, aren’t leaving by choice. Kucinich failed to win this past election after state leaders redrew district lines to pit him against fellow Democrat Marcy Kaptur. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein sat down with Kucinich during his final weeks in office to discuss a range of issues he has championed during his 16 years in Congress: from campaign finance reform to the Middle East peace process. He started out by explaining his last effort as a lawmaker: a resolution (which failed to win committee approval) that sought to force the Obama Administration to give Congress more information about the secret drone killing program that has claimed hundreds of lives in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Correction: In the original version of this story, we incorrectly stated Rep. Dennis Kucinich spent “decades in Congress.” Kucinich began his career in Washington in 1997, serving 16 years before redistricting led to his defeat in November’s election. FSRN regrets the error.