WASHINGTON D.C. - Raul Ruiz was officially sworn into the 113th Congress earlier this month. We were the only local station in Washington D.C as it happened. In his first sit down interview as a Congressman, Ruiz laid out the issues he wants to tackle during his freshman term.
"I am very confident that we will be working very hard and making sure that we improve lives for everybody in the district," said Ruiz.
Rep. Ruiz says he has a plan for his first term.
"First and foremost we need to improve the economy through creating jobs. Creating jobs will also improve creating healthcare access and reduce the deficit. We need to improve the green renewable energy in our district. There is no reason why we cannot be the leaders in producing wind, geothermal, and solar energy," said Ruiz.
Ruiz says to improve the economy, we also need to improve education.
"We need to modernize our schools with technology so that our kids have the tools that they need to compete, not only nationally, but internationally with things as simple as using the internet in the classrooms and being able to use software. We have the capacity to do that and there are also recent studies showing that students actually learn a lot more and a lot faster by using technology in the classroom," explained Ruiz.
The congressman says saving and developing Salton Sea could help turn the economy around.
"This could be a game changer not just for the Coachella Valley or District 36 but the entire southern California region," Ruiz said. "We have a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert, you can just imagine the tourism, you can imagine producing renewable energy through geothermal plants in the area. We can even partition a section off and use algae for fuel this is going to be a hot spot once again in southern California the largest body of water for a tourism destination."
It sounds like an astronomical task, but Ruiz says it can be done.
"Everything is possible, but it is only going to be possible if we come together as a community. There is no one stop fix solution to this, everybody has got to put their piece of that puzzle on the table including private investment, philanthropist the tribes, corporations and that is why if we bring it in we definitely can find a solution to the Salton Sea," said Ruiz.
During his two year term it's very likely Congress will tackle immigration, an issue very important to the Coachella Valley.
"One of the top three industries is our agricultural industry and if we use the example of the south, where they had these draconian deportation laws, the agricultural industry plummeted. They were in trouble and we do not want that to happen in our district when our economy is greatly dependent on our agricultural industry so we need to protect our businesses to hire their employees, we need to secure our boarders," said Ruiz.
Ruiz says he does not believe in amnesty, but rather an earned path to citizenship.
"I approach this not as a Hispanic like you say, but I approach this as an evidence based policy maker. I approach this as what would be the best for our country, what is the best for our nation," said Ruiz.
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