VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Deb Haaland On Native American Rights, The Economy, Climate Change & The Military
In an exclusive interview with uPolitics, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), one of the first Native American women ever to serve in the House, outlined the issues she is focused on including climate change, an economic equality, putting a “human face” on the military and giving Native Americans a voice in the government.
As one of the first two Native American women to ever be elected to the House of Representatives, Haaland has made her community a top priority, fighting to ensure that it gets the federal recognition that it deserves.
“Congress has never heard a voice like mine,” Haaland told uPolitics. “We’ve had hearings on climate change where we’ve brought tribal leaders to the table, we’ve had hearings on missing and murdered indigenous women where we have brought Native American women advocates to the table to talk about the issues. I feel like I’m doing my very best to make sure that Native Americans have a voice in Congress.”
Haaland is also a proponent of economic equality, asserting, “This economy needs to work for everybody, it can’t just work for the billionaires at the top.”
“There’s a bill that I filed recently, a universal childcare bill that will help people below the poverty level get childcare so that they can rest easy, go to work, and not worry about their kids,” said Haaland. “We need to make sure that working families get their break too—the millionaires have certainly gotten theirs and the billionaires have gotten theirs. People like me, people like you, need to be able to succeed in this country and we need to have an economy that works for everyone. That bill will definitely help working families.”
Another way that Haaland proposes improving the economy is by harnessing the renewable resources that are common in her region. “New Mexico has over 300 days of sun per year,” the representative said. “That means we’re ripe for a renewable energy economy and I would love to see that through.”
Haaland is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee, having petitioned to join the panel in order to provide a “progressive voice.” The committee recently approved the National Defense Authorization Act, which details appropriations for military funding.
“We got things in the bill, a 3.1% raise for active-duty military personnel, emergency contraception for women personnel, protection from contamination,” said Haaland. “I had an amendment put in that will make us report on how many single-use plastic bottles military bases are using because we need to care about our environment.”
The representative also talked about one of the most important aspects of the new bill, stating, “We had a lot of amendments go into that bill, one that said the president can not start a war in Iran without congressional approval.” Overall, Haaland asserted that the panel “worked hard to make sure we see that there’s a human face to all of these issues.”