Skip to Main

April 17, 2019

NECN: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Reflects on First 100 Days



Ayanna Pressley has been busy in Washington. She has filed a workers rights bill, legislation to combat workplace harassment and an amendment to lower the voting age to 16.

And she says she is not afraid to be disruptive when necessary.

One hundred days after being sworn in, Pressley is settling in to her new job as a United States Congresswoman, though she was teased recently by her colleagues.

“I kept referring to the other members as congressmen and women,” Pressley said. “And they said, ‘You do know that you can just call them by their first name. You know, you’re one of us.'”

Pressley is part of the historic freshman class that is the most diverse in history — a class also known for its left-leaning proposals that some Republicans call radical, such as Medicare for all and the Green New Deal, led by her friend, Rep. Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez of New York, a self-described Democratic Socialist.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said of Ocasio-Cortez and her group, “That’s like five people.”

Asked if she is one of those five people, Pressley said, “You’d have to ask Speaker Pelosi that … If I am being included in that five, I know that we certainly represent more than five people. We represent the values and the aspirations and the lived experiences of millions.”

Pressley says she answers to one constituency: the people of her 7th District, who she says sent her to Washington to be heard.

“I will ask different questions and I will shake the table in pursuit of and in the name of progress,” she said.

Pressley was also asked what she makes of the analysis by some who feel that the majority of Americans are more moderate and fall somewhere in between the loudest voices on the left and the right.

“I think that’s a very convenient narrative to push,” she said. “But the reality is that increasingly so, more of the middle is demanding that Congress be bold.”

Pressley says she is focused on making the lessons of the 2018 midterm, which ushered in the Democratic majority, instrumental in creating transformational generational change.