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Race in America: The Power of Representation with Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) & Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.)

Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) join Karen Tumulty to discuss the impact of a more diverse Congress. (Video: The Washington Post)

In 2018, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) made history as the first Native American women elected to Congress. This year, they were among six Native Americans elected to the House of Representatives — a record-breaking number. On Friday Dec. 11 at 11:00 am ET, Davids and Haaland will join Washington Post opinions columnist Karen Tumulty to discuss the impact of a more diverse Congress, Native American history and their legislative priorities.

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Groups and political leaders have been pressuring President-elect Joe Biden to choose Rep. Deb Haaland or another Native American as Secretary of the Interior. When asked if she’s been vetted by the transition team, Haaland said, “No, I am not being vetted. I think they need to make the choice first before they do the vetting. What I'm doing right now is concentrating on making sure that our country can get past this terrible pandemic.” On the potential pick of Michael Conner, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Haaland said, "I worked extremely hard to make sure that Joe Biden won this election, I am going to support whoever president-elect Biden chooses for any position." (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Deb Haaland said she believes communities that have suffered historic injustices should be considered for the first round of vaccine distributions. “When you think about historic injustice…They are the most vulnerable communities even still…So, when we’re thinking about how we distribute the vaccine, I absolutely feel like the most vulnerable communities absolutely need to be considered.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Sharice Davids says “underfunding” has contributed to the disproportionate impact the coronavirus has had in Native American communities. "I think there is a lot of educating that needs to happen around the structural issues the native communities face...Some of the impacts have to do with consistent underfunding." (Video: Washington Post Live)
Rep. Sharice Davids says she’s optimistic that a stimulus relief package will be passed before Congress adjourns. "If we don't get a covid relief package done, everybody suffers...Our Republican colleagues...Mitch McConnell included, will see it doesn't do anyone any good for him to hold out and not stay at the negotiating table." (Video: Washington Post Live)

Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.)

Representative Sharice Davids was raised by a single mother, who served in the Army for 20 years. After graduating from Leavenworth High School, she worked her way through Johnson County Community College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City before earning a law degree from Cornell Law School. As a first generation college student who worked the entire time she was in college, Rep. Davids understands the importance of quality public schools and affordable higher education. It is that foundation that allowed her to go on to a successful career, focused on economic and community development, which included time as a White House Fellow under President Barack Obama. When she was sworn into the 116th Congress, Rep. Davids became one of the first two Native American women to serve in Congress. Rep. Davids has centered her work in office on putting Kansans first, fighting to limit the influence of special interests and make health care more affordable and accessible to everyone. She is a resident of Roeland Park.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.)

Representative Deb Haaland serves New Mexico’s First Congressional District and is one of the first Native American women serving in Congress. As a 35th generation New Mexican, single-mom, and organizer Haaland knows the struggles of New Mexico families, but she also knows how resilient and strong New Mexico communities are. In Congress she’s a force fighting climate change and for renewable energy jobs as Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, a powerful supporter of military personnel, families, and veterans on the House Armed Services Committee, and continues to advocate for dignity, respect, and equality for all.