What made you decide to go into politics?
Being Jewish was a really big part of it. I looked at the 2016 election and I saw scapegoating and denigration of immigrants and hate speech that we’ve seen before in history. I’ve thought about what I would’ve done during certain moments of history — if I had lived during World War II, would I have been one of the people who helped others escape? During the civil rights movement, would I have been a person who went to the South and stood with my brothers and sisters there? I looked at this moment and I just saw these parallels. It’s that concept of social justice and tikkun olam that played into that decision to go and make a difference at a time when the country really needed me to make a difference. It feels good to be on the right side of history, standing up for justice and defending our country.
What have you accomplished so far?
I have a vaccine bill that’s going to pass. I’ve been able to stand up for women’s reproductive rights, and I’ve been able to work across the aisle for things like a Farm Workforce Modernization Act and to get the Yakima Basin plan passed and into law.
What are you most proud of after your first year in office?
I’m just really proud to have put myself out there and have taken this risk. It can’t be overstated that it was probably the bravest thing I’ve ever done — putting myself out there as a Democrat, after having worked for 20 years and never mentioning politics once in the office, knowing that I could lose half of my patients the next day, and knowing that any slip-up, any mistake, anything embarrassing would be front-page news.
Schrier’s Top 3 Priorities
- Address climate change with the urgency that it deserves.
- Make sure that everybody has access to affordable healthcare.
- Be a voice for children. I’m the first pediatrician in Congress, so I bring that lens to questions about education, nutrition, hunger, inequity.