NPR logo

Rep. Yvette Clarke: Embracing a Diverse District

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6806095/6806096" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Rep. Yvette Clarke: Embracing a Diverse District

Rep. Yvette Clarke: Embracing a Diverse District

Rep. Yvette Clarke: Embracing a Diverse District

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6806095/6806096" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Yvette Clarke. Credit: Yvette Clarke Campaign. i

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) represents a diverse Brooklyn congressional district that faces significant challenges in providing affordable housing to its inhabitants. Yvette Clarke Campaign hide caption

toggle caption Yvette Clarke Campaign
Yvette Clarke. Credit: Yvette Clarke Campaign.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) represents a diverse Brooklyn congressional district that faces significant challenges in providing affordable housing to its inhabitants.

Yvette Clarke Campaign

Freshman United States Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) talks to Steve Inskeep about the current crop of Democrats, and what she is looking to deliver for the constituents of her urban district in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Like many lawmakers, she represents a district heavily weighted toward her political party. The following is an edited version of their conversation:

What's it like looking around the room at the Democrats' freshman class?

We definitely span the [political] spectrum. But I think that you'll find that in any party. You'll find those who are to the extremes of the right and the left on both sides of the aisle.

Are you comfortable with the "liberal" label?

I guess so. It's all relative. I would put myself towards left of center.

What's your district like?

It's very diverse. We have extreme wealth, abject poverty. We have every major religion. Certainly it's a unique blend of longtime stakeholders and new Americans, many immigrants. It's very diverse.

What will you be seeking from Congress for your district?

There are real issues around housing, and the pressures in the housing market. The pressure that has mounted to create opportunities for affordable housing is at an all-time high right now.

There has been this stalemate [in Congress] around Section 8 [housing subsidies], which, in an urban area like mine, has been sort of the first rung on the ladder for many in the working class and working poor to get their foothold in the housing market.

I know that if we have an opportunity, and I know we will, there will be a lot of conversation about this. Because it's not only New York City, it's places like Washington, D.C., and other urban areas [that need increased Section 8 assistance].

Does a balanced budget fit with your calls for more housing assistance?

I'm sure we'll have to have discussions along the way [about balancing budgets]. We want to make sure we create as many win-win scenarios as possible. And we want to be fiscally responsible. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

Do blacks still feel at home in the Democratic Party?

I think that there... certainly have been challenges along the way, that need to be addressed head on. I'd like to think that we have a new day, a new moment and a new hour. And I can say that, certainly, I'm bringing my unique chemistry to this body. And I will be very vocal in letting folks know when they're stepping on my corns!

Are you expecting the Democratic Party to deliver on your concerns?

I think that it only makes us a better party when we deliver better things, when we include everyone in the deliberation, and that their voice is a part of the chorus.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.