VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Congress has left Washington, D.C. on spring break. As lawmakers make their way home, we checked in with one of Congress’ newest members, Representative Elaine Luria.
She beat out Scott Taylor for Virginia’s Second District seat, but as she pointed out, she’s closer to her home district than most others in Congress.
Most have to fly home every week, but she gets to drive. There is stress on the family, but the work is rewarding.
In her first 100 days serving in Congress, Luria has been fighting against the Navy proposal to decommission the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman halfway through its 50-year estimated life.
“As taxpayers, we have put a lot of money in to buy and build an aircraft carrier, and I think it’s really bad to use it for only half of its life and then sell it as a savings to taxpayers.”
She was most disappointed with the recent government shutdown, blames President Donald Trump for it, and refused to take a paycheck while it was going on.
“Here we are securing our borders, and it is important, but at the same time we are not paying our border patrols. Security is not getting paid at TSA, that is keeping us safe in the air. We are not paying those in our Coast Guard, and all the things that would protect us, and yet we are not paying the people who would do that,” she said while sitting in her Virginia Beach district office.
Luria disagrees with critics who think Washington is politically polarized beyond repair.
“That is only a few select committees, and a few members, and it certainly is not Armed Services and not Veterans Affairs, and the things that I am a part of every day.”
Luria’s most disappointed with perceived anti-semitism in comments from her new Muslim colleagues.
She asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who she supported as speaker, to denounce the anti-Jewish rhetoric and take action to stop it.
“I never thought in this day and age that my first time speaking on the floor of the House was to speak against anti-semitism, to speak against bigotry and racism, and all the things we stood against in that resolution.”
Luria and her staff have spent lots of time and effort on their bread and butter-constituent services.
“In the first 100 days we got over $120,000 back in pay benefits for people, be that Social Security, Medicare. We help people with immigration issues. We have helped with local business owners with issues they have with federal permits required for the business.”
Luria also ran on bipartisan cooperation. She’s a member of a bipartisan group called “Problem Solvers,” which includes 44 members in the House and Senate — 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans — who get together every week to work on solving issues they can agree on.
The two major issues: lowering prescription drug costs and improving infrastructure in America.