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tv   Q A  CSPAN  June 10, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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of the bomb. >> watch for the global content vehicle every month on book tv "" and american history tv. watch for it on the wkend of july 7 and 8. >> this week, often "q & a," angela rye discusses her career in politics, at the history of the caucus and the goals for this term. >> when did you decide to become an activist? >> i did not think i had a choice. i was born and raised in a family with five other
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activists in seattle. i think my first protest was when i was 2 years old. i do not recall it. it was an anti-apartheid protest. >> where? >> seattle. he was a major activist on that issue. >> why does he take such an active role? >> i think he cannot help but. he cares deeply about charity and rights. my mother spent her career in higher education.
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she ran boards on affirmative action also. >> what was your early life in seattle like? >> it was an amazing experience for me. i had always been around the different types of people. we have a very rich melting pot. i have been around native american people. >> worded to go to high school? >> an academy, all girls. it was different. for me, it was probably at least 90% black. at home you get these after- school activities and a different group of defers folks. it was a culture shock for me. it was the opposite.
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it was important for me to learn the importance of teaching people about who i am. i remember a ninth grade project. we have to tell a classmate where we came from. i had to make up a story. it is a good learning experience. they could trace their roots back to ireland. we started a union and 10th grades. it is still reversed. it is a great place. i came up with a character. >> it was mythical? >> i did not have the answer.
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i did not know what country in africa. i cannot answer beyond four generations. since then we have learned a lot about it. it was a tough thing to do. >> do you know where mom is from? >> i do not know where in africa. we could trace a little further back. we went to the actual house in alexandria. now the national urban league owns the building. that was good. >> when did you notice at holy names high school but there was a divide there? >> i think that for me going
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there an environment that was very different from my elementary and middle school. it was culture shock. you try to figure out how to adapt. i do not think it was divided. >> where did to go to high school? >> university of washington. then seattle university school of law. i knew i wanted to be a lawyer longer than i could spell it. i had a cabbage patch scrapbook and i spelled lawyer l-o-w-y-e-
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r. my father was always fighting for justice. i grew up around a lot of people that were mentors and did very well. >> who is your number one role model in life right now? >> i still have a village. i need some help sometimes. definitely my parents. it my dad says i am so proud of you. i say i am so proud to be your daughter. they are well-rounded amazing people.
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they have done things for me to make sure i would be able to succeed. i have along i adopted along the way. they are amazing. definitely my current boss, the chairman of the caucus. they have affected my life in different ways. >> there is a lot more to talk about. what is the congressional black caucus and what is your job? >> it was founded in 1971. it is designed to ensure that members of congress who are african-american can come together on issues that are plaguing the community at large, issues that may be playing their district. they can together to advance the causes of our people that did not have a voice. they are often referred to as the conscious of the congress.\/ i cannot think of a better name. it is the heart of the people. they know what folks need before we all know and need it.
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whether it is voting rights or international issues like apartheid. it is an organization that speaks for the voiceless in congress. >> what is a day for you like the? >> it is never the same. for that i am grateful. we have the leaders' summit. we have the jobs initiative. we're working on voting rights activities. it is never the same. how many black caucus members are there now? >> 42.
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>> how many are congress people? >> all of them. there are two delegates from the virgin islands. they are great. she is a star when it comes to legal right. >> is allen west still a member? >> he is. >> there are a lot of things he said, and that he would share a different point of view. he is a retired military man. has he played any role? >> he definitely has a different perspective.
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the congressional black caucus is not a monolith. there is not one single way that issues impact people. >> there is a statement by william that is in wikipedia. i want for you to break it down for us. there has been an unofficial white caucus for years. it is our turn to show you can join the club. he cannot meet the criteria unless he can change his skin color. we're concerned about the population. we will not allow all white america to infringe. explain that statement. it looks harsh to somebody who's not involved. >> i have to say that there are differing views on this subject throughout congress.
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i have never talked to him about it. i do not know what his rationale. there are informal ways in which we collaborate. districts with less populations of african-american people and large populations of low-income folks were we joined forces. it is on a staff level. i cannot articulate what exactly that means. i am sure there would be different opinions on what
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exactly that looks like. in terms of the first part of the statement, i think you will find that a lot of people feel like it is underrepresented in the congress does not a black senator. only 42 members of the house, at less than 10%. we are underserved. we look at the redistricting. it has been designed to keep us out. it is critical that members have a body where they can go to find commonality.
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>> i did some calculations on the 40 that have been elected. only 20 of the 50 states have anybody of color. >> i would have to double check that. i am sure that is right. >> then you have your comment texas, florida, north carolina. there's a heavy concentration. >> what do you think? what do you see there when you see all these concentrations tax is that good or bad? >> i can liken it to a class i had an undergrad. it was the best class i've ever taken in my life. it was not just the subject matter but the make up. the class was so diverse that
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couple of black students, asian students, latino. the white students were not called white. they were irish or german or scottish. at that moment, the difference in the cultures in the room were appreciated. there's something to say for having defers representation. inmates the dialogue that much more enriching. i do not know i can say it is a large concentration. it is different. there's something to be said. >> i want you to talk to somebody who lives. it is a very white state. they live in the midwest. they do not know anybody of color. what would you tell them that is different of your culture versus their culture. >> that is difficult. i would say the most important thing is to find commonality. maybe we both have parents.
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we have family that loves us. we have friends. we have educations that are endeavoring levels. i think it is important to find common ground. you can have a candid conversation about the reasons why they exist. >> how often do you see prejudiced? >> every day. >> get me an example of something that happened to you. >> i think this is the first
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time i have seen prejudice to warn me because i am a woman, not from the middle of the caucus. i had one man on our staff. i think that assumptions are made because of how people look. people would rather deal with someone older. >> how do you deal with it? if someone does not want to deal with you because you are young or a woman, what do you do? >> i had a co-worker on the committee. they said you never do anything wrong on the hill. it is going to be the staffer or what ever it is. i have to remember that. i'm not as representing myself. i'm representing a bigger group of people.
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>> let me go back to the question i asked. you are with another white person and they want to have a candid conversation. everyone says we need the conversation. what is the we are not talking about? >> history and the impacts of history whether it is slavery or reconstruction are the civil- rights movement. there are issues with disparity in incomes and how you address them and whether you have equal access. i'm not sure it is still as race base. the economic divide exists because of the racial signs this
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country has had. >> if you look at the statistics, we are headed to where people that look like me are going to be in the minority. what would you tell us about what it is like to be in the minority? >> i do not like being in the congress either. the most important thing to know about being a minority is the importance of forming coalitions. i'm talking about my dad again. we have the importance of collaborative relationships that you can find again. common ground they can share in the issues that have similar policy views.
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you have to form coalitions. you are a much bigger voice than on your own. if you can form a group of people with interests that are louder, you have more numbers. >> how long have you been executive director of the congressional black caucus? >> january 2011. >> 1.5 years. >> what do you know now that you did not know before you started this job? >> i would say how amazing the strategic policies are. these are amazing. these are different. i have learned so much. our strategy on policy decisions and all the things that go in them on issues that are important and why they should be important to the history of the caucus.
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we have two founders that are with us. >> one example that i heard is that i know that folks think the caucus is a monolith. it is not. it was easier when it was a smaller group. i do not think he likes a larger representation. a lot more work goes into the caucuses. >> i want to show you a clip. this is for someone who used to work with as an intern. how would you define maxine waters?
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>> powerhouse. she is an amazing organizing. she is an effective advocate, a great communicator. she certainly has the heartbeat of the caucus. i adore her. i respect her greatly. she is one of my role models. she is a strong and effective member. >> this is a forum they put on in detroit. were you there? >> yes. >> she is talking to a primarily black caucus. >> an angry black caucus angry about the economy and the state of jobs in detroit. >> let's watch. [video clip] >> we do not put pressure on the president. you love the president.
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you are very proud to have a black man. you are going after [unintelligible] let me tell you the reality of what is going on. it is all right. when you tell us if it is all rights and you tell us are ready for us to have this conversation, we are ready to have the conversation. [end video clip] >> the context is very important. it is one of the scariest moments of my life.
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the reason for that is i've never seen people so angry and so hurts been so frustrated. when you went into detroit, it was like a ghost town in downtown detroit. to know the rich history of the city, it was depressing. we did a job fair at every stop. we also did a town hall meeting. there is not a town hall meeting before or after. >> this is in august of 2011. >> that is right. i literally asked of the moderator if we should shut down the meeting and take the members out of there. i was scared. i thought it would be a good idea to have them escorted out by the police. they told me not to do that. i was afraid for them.
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it was a scary situation. it was about having a conversation. it was a necessary conversation. african-american unemployment was horribly high. it was even worse in detroit. it was a 50% in some cities. when you have a conversation about whether or not people can keep the lights on, that is a very emotionally taxing conversation. i think the congressman was trying to say this is a conversation that we had. it is a difficult conversation. if you want to attack us because we're trying to speak up, it will not benefit you. that is not what you see.
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it is important to have it. >> here's a little more from that event. [video clip] >> i will be in los angeles. aside from that, i travel to a lot of other cities. i have been to chicago. the congressional black caucus is supportive of the president. what we want to do is give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he is prepared to lead on. we want to give him every opportunity. people are hurt. unemployment is unconscionable. we do not know what the strategy is. all i'm saying is that we are politicians.
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we are trying to do the right thing and the best thing. it is time to let go and we will do so. [end video clip] >> we are getting tired she said. break it down for people that are not the black community about is a black man and he is the first one ever and we voted for him. how much time do you get him? >> i do not speak on behalf of
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the congressman. i can relate to a based on the experiences we had in the five cities. what i can say is it is frustrating to deal with a situation and the strategies are not lying. what we saw was a strategy formulated to hear it there's a recommendation that we presented to the white house. he gave the job site to be voted on. all nine proposals are included. it is about trying to figure how we can get on the same page to advance communities that we collectively care about.
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when you look at what they did, we absolutely are. >> what would happen for the black community if it was passed? >> it would be greater economic opportunity. there are several youth jobs programs. there are all types of proposals. that is what we need right now. if we had some more targeted solutions, we win move a lot farther down the road. it is really hard to get anything accomplished. >> from your own standpoint, do you see the president of the united states as an african- american. what impact does that have? >> i remember watching television. i took a picture on my phone but the final results.
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i cried. it was unbelievable. initially, everybody said it cannot happen. it did happen. it was absolutely unbelievable. >> what has happened since then? >> i think this is the toughest presidential term in my lifetime for a president, black or white. it is a really tough economy. when you look at traditional democrats and republicans, we have books on the extreme side of all the issues. we cannot even have an honest dialogue. people are not willing to come to one side or the other. the senate candidate was often the chalk talk show and asked to clarify his position on what he deemed as bipartisanship. to him it is democrats coming over to the republican side. we know that is unrealistic. you have to have a frank dialogue about what it means to
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have a dialogue. that is the reason why it is set up. you have a really interesting dynamic. i think a lot about what the president has experience is because he is black, of whether it is questioning his intellect and weather not he is true i believe it. it is almost like he is not educated enough or too educated or too christian are not christian and up. >> you ever listen to the conservative radio shows talk about 10? >> no. i do see tv shows. how much do you think is racial?
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>> i will give you a lot. there was an ad talking about the president being too cool. it reminds me some of this. he's very racially charged. bush was to cool but said that with the number one person they would like to have a beer with. if that is not cool, i do not know what is.
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>> in the last election, and 95% of the black community voted for the president. how many people come out? no, there is a long way to go. anything we saw in detroit mean they will not come vote? >> i do not know. there's a lot of work to be done to educate people. it is whether or not you have a government issued id. you have to pay to get a government issued id. the problem is if you get to the polls and you are told that you cannot vote the still may
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have a problem. we're focusing our attention on rejecting that problem. it is a major problem for poor people, latinos and seniors and college students. some college students are being told their college id will not even be suitable. >> we have to have an id to get on an airplane. >> i think when you change the dynamics of what you need to vote and you select your first but presidents, this is where you have a problem. if i can go online onto my i tunes and download a song because i entered my credit card and tight a password that is efficient, why do i need a government proof before i can get an american certificates and that my last name has changed?
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there is a 91 year old woman who did not have a marriage a certificate anymore. only put additional barriers up, that is why we have the problem. >> what kind of activities the as the black caucus have during a year? >> we want to focus a lot on voting rights. it takes place on may 30. people are educated about the
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issue actions that exist. >> they are designed to talk about who the challenges are that they have coming up in 2012. it is designed to ensure about how they can do this without violating any rules to make sure they know the parameter. it is the first place to go to figure out how it to be made up on policy issues and on what to do at the polls. we definitely want to talk to people. >> i noticed that your church is listed. why? >> it is an important part of my life. >> explain how? >> i was born and raised catholic. i realize they did not want to be catholic anymore.
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state such an important part of who i am. there's so many things that have happened by purely god's grace. i am proud of who i am. >> what was the most difficult time in your life? >> that is tough. that is hard. for me just talking to my dad is difficult because it is the anniversary of my grandfather's death. he passed on when i was 10. i remember like it was yesterday. it was such an important part of me. i had other family members that passed away. i think this is always tough. i cannot think of one singular
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incident. >> your father was active in civil rights. what did he do? >> he was also a small business owner. he did a lot of this. they did food service work. they had different employees that would handle the capacity of either. i remember one particular incident. the company won a service award. they decided not to lose the contract based on the space. >> based on the skin color? >> yes. >> did he prove that? >> he tried to four years. >> did the hear someone say that out loud? >> there was proof that it did
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occur. >> today where do you see prejudice the most? >> i still say a lot of racial bias. when i think about the trayvon martin shooting and the senior grandma's defense, a case is currently pending. just the whole process. i watched this young man and his family go on television to try to provide additional exposure. i watched their heartbreak when their son was demonized because he had a hoodie on. those kinds of things. because they taught differently than you. it is really bad.
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>> as an outsider looking in, my reaction was the conservatives say that you could see the tilt toward mr. zimmerman and the black audiences would tilt toward trayvon martin. how can we know? we do not know a thing. people automatically jump in and take sides. >> from my vantage point, there were a lot of things that did not make sense. to demonize a victim, and this situation the boy who was not alive to tell the story was demonized. that is where i take issue. i do not take fact with george zimmerman. there's so many conflicting stories. he was kicked out of school. he smoked marijuana or whatever.
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that is not right to take someone's life. >> what happens if the jury would find him guilty or not guilty? >> i think not guilty is extremely problematic. folks at what about riots and all that. i hope people are educated enough not to do that. his mother and father had asked for peaceful situations. i am not sure.
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>> back in 1967, there's a racial riots in detroit. they never recovered from that. 43 people were killed. what would you say? is there any evidence as a bayou to a race riot? >> i do not support that. sometimes you hurt people that are trying to be part of the community. participants get back in some ways. >> historically black colleges, what do you know about them tax how long did you work around the issue? >> personally, i have friends that went to one. i was supposed to go to howard. >> would you have rather gone to howard? >> i am grateful for the journey that i took. i think that the journey i was supposed to take.
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i first worked for the national association for equal opportunity and higher education. i was entranced with the universities work. when you talk about parity and racial issues, but when i think about every year they are having to fight for their relevancy again and whether they should still exist. they disproportionately educate great amounts of students. since science and technology and mathematics. there is one that graduates and goes on to medical programs. >> how many black colleges are there?
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>> i believe 120. >> what are the rules about non- blacks going to them that what they are open. historically black is exactly that. they were founded for black students. >> i saw the list of west virginia. they have the least number of blacks. the average is 11% whites overall. why do we need to have this and congressional black caucuses why do we need the separation?
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>> i do not think this separation. it's a celebration. these colleges do amazing things with less resources. they have less financial capacity. >> why do we have less financial support? >> i think that this aggression for the congress. they are focused on different minority institutions. the budget is going to be reduced over time. that had an impact.
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the school had issue with the size of their endowments. there are lots of reasons. >> the university of washington and seattle, how did you pay for it? >> student loans. i'm still paying for it. >> how long will you? but i do not know. maybe after i leave the government and have a good high- paying job. >> if you did ousted loans, why
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cannot everybody else? why should there be favoritism? >> where do see that happening? >> i thought that is what he meant by the historical black caucus. >> the funding is for the institution and not for the students. for a program, in have to have a certain income level. for most of my undergrad, my parents paid out of pocket. when my parents went bankrupt, i was an undergrad. >> you are conversation and relatively quiet. when do we see angela rye excited about an issue or upset about something? >> i am on my good behavior right now. i'm a very passionate person. >> how do we know? >> we see it at work. calleden nonprofit i.m.p.a.c.t.
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you see it there. one of our directors always talks about is being very loud and passionate. i am passionate of just about everything. >> number-one passion? >> making a difference. the name is i.m.p.a.c.t. and we want to make a difference. i came to washington, d.c. and helps in making this. it would only help one client. i came to the nation's capital where that happens. >> give me an example. you have just been elected president. you can change things. give us specifics. >> a lot of it is that he has done exactly what we needed to happen. we did health care. job access.
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resolving the economic crisis. these are some they things i would have hope to be a part of in the same situation. >> you were on the homeland security. why did you do that? >> when the democrats took over in 2007, i was asked to talk to mr. thompson. it was a fascinating policy area. i was focusing a lot of the work on the big picture.
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on the other extreme, it is the third largest purchaser of goods and services. spending time trying to figure out this. there is a lot of good work there. i am sure he is passionate about that. >> what did you see when it came to women and minorities? >> definitely underutilized. we had officers was some of the agency's they utilize one company. they know women. they will go back.
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maybe you do parties. new go to what you know. it is not necessarily malicious. the results are very bad. you do not get companies opportunities because they do not look like you. i think it is a problem we have across the board. overall, a lot of federal entities do not have enough staff. they have a picture of what the needs are for each company. i think that folks are stressed really then. we have to figure out a way to make it work. they are triple counted if you meet multiple classifications of women. >> who counts them? >> the contracting officers have gold. there is a 23% overall. this is 3% for a disabled vet.
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you have these goals you need to meet. sometimes the golden ticket is finding someone you can fit the categories. then you end up knocking someone else out of a job if the probably performed very well. >> knowing what you know well, what would you recommend to take advantage of the roles of? >> i want to follow the rules. >> how would you get into that? what would you recommend? >> i recommend they have a good
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hold out. i recommend that they find a large company partner to find joint ventures. a lot of these entities have good relationships. it is not just about the goal. it is about who you know. >> what does i.m.p.a.c.t. do? how you get your money? >> it is an organization we established in 2006 to connect you professionals of color to one another. every month we recognize there's someone in the country who does really good work. we ensure that we are engaged in activities and economic empowerment.
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to us that insures your success. we have events and different programs. we raise money for them. >> how do you pick people every year to highlight? >> wiki recommendations. people send us e-mails. lawyers, medical practitioners, entrepreneurs. you recognize the person that got the most online. i think there would have an
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award to win from their peers. >> is the person always in the minority? >> yes. >> where do get the idea? >> from watching the success of others. i know that i would not be who i am without a lot of different people going into my life, whether they be my mentors or peers. we wanted to create an environment for people who may not automatically have a village. >> do you see anywhere in the society now where it is a plus to the minority? >> i am happy with who i am. >> i mean people who say you
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will fill my quota. i like the fact that you are a black woman. >> i do not know. i do not know where someone speaks openly about a quota. i do not support it in that sense. it is because there is a major problem. i think the quota is a very different ball game. i like to avoid that like the plague. i do not know. i like to get to the point where it is as great as being anybody else. i do not know that we are there across the board. >> what are the chances that you are go into elective office? >> i do not want to do that.
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>> i would rather be on the background helping a strategy. i have a deep admiration for people who can do that. that is just a lot of burden. it is really tough. you're able to have an opinion. >> what is your guess about race relations? in 20 years will there be a black caucus? >> the chair hopes that there will not be. when i think about what that means, it means that we would have covered a lot of ground racially.
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we have to have a lot of independence advocates. we have to cover a lot of ground and the economic injustices that exist. all that is good. >> would you think he will be in 20 years? >> hopefully married with older kids. i would like to continue to make a difference an impact my jobs and communities in my church. >> do you have brothers and sisters? >> i have one brother 13 years older than me. he still lives in seattle. >> angela rye is the executive director of the congressional black caucus.
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what is your title with i.m.p.a.c.t.? >> i am just director. everybody is the same. >> you do that outside of the congressional black caucus? >> absolutely. it is my baby. >> thank you so much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> for a dvd copy call 1-877- 662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at www.q-and- "q & a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> next, at the australian prime minister takes questions from members of parliament.
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after that, speeches from a missouri gov. chain nixon. then barney frank in general are in tennessee. -- and general martin dempsey. >> to mar the center for new american security discussing the end of large-scale military operations in afghanistan. they describe how drones are being used domestically. we begin our series on federal financial agencies with harvey pitt on the role of the sec. five at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c- span. john skipper and different media


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