Given the recent abhorrent attacks on our nation's capitol, U.S. Representative (and chief of white boards) Katie Porter is "hellbent" on getting people to know what's at stake. The Congresswoman spoke on InStyle’s podcast Ladies First with Laura Brown about how she uses her ability to command a room to tell the cold hard truth.
"Like I really, really go into these hearings wanting to be telling the truth and getting witnesses to tell the truth," she tells editor-in-chief Laura Brown. "And so one of the things that I think about a lot is really doing the research, really trying to double-check my facts, really trying to understand the issue." She adds, "I care, but I try not to worry. I try to focus much more on what I can do or what I should be doing. Even if it’s not possible today, what could be possible tomorrow, what could be possible next year to solve these problems."
When insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building last week, the importance of truth and facts was made crystal clear. What started as those in power doubting the facts of the presidential election became a violent mob determined to block it being certified, endangering people in the process. Even before that happened, Porter explained that it's crucial for the American people to have legislators they can trust to deliver the real, unfiltered truth of what is going on in this country, and what its people need.
“My goal is to get the American people to trust Congress,” she says. “Not to necessarily agree with everything we do. That just seems like a fool's errand in a democracy. If you look over the last 30 or 40 years, whether Democrats are in charge, whether the Republicans are in charge, one thing has been pretty steady: [Over] the last 30 or 40 years, the American people's opinion of those who do this work has gone down. This is a problem, right? I'm really trying to think about how do I show people what's at stake here, what I've done to listen to them, what I've done to learn about the problem and possible solutions and to explain why I reached the conclusion that I have.”
U.S. Representative Katie Porter on Command of Presence: Episode 7: January 12, 2021.
Duration: 33:49 minutes
This podcast may contain cursing that would not be appropriate for listeners under 14. Discretion is advised.
Porter also speaks about when she found her voice and courage to speak up for what is right. Hint: it involves another badass woman — Senator Elizabeth Warren.
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“I had a hearing with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Diamond,” she tells Brown. “I walked through this [worker's] budget with him and talked about how hard it would be to make ends meet. Elizabeth called me and, again, I won't forget where I was: I was at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, walking to my connection, and she called me and she was laughing and she said, ‘Well, Katie, just wanted to let you know, I think you found your voice.’ I think I have, and I don't intend to lose it.”
But she's not able to let that gusto go to her head. Porter says her young kids keep her in check.
“They definitely keep it real. My daughter said the other day, ‘People said you're famous, Mom, and I told them, you're just not.’ Right, so to them, I'm still their mom, and that's the important role to play for them.” When she needs a palate cleanser after a hard day (of truth-telling, or kid-wrangling)? Porter is just like us: “kitten videos,” she says, are just the thing.
Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Storm Reid, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.
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