In this week's Connect to Congress, we talked to Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D) Nevada.
Here are some of the highlights about what he had to say on the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the Mueller investigation and more.
The move of U.S. embassy to Jerusalem
“I am encouraged that we are seeing support for Israel like we have never seen before. I have been a big supporter of Israel in my time in Congress, in the legislature. But I am concerned right now about the violence right now that we are seeing in the region. You saw just a few days ago a lot of deaths so I am concerned about the leadership that president trump has taken on this issue. I believe that president trump has to eloquently show us his strategy on how to bring peace to the region because right now there’s a lot of turmoil in that area. More people are going to continue to die if we don’t see a firm strategy from the president. And that’s what we need to see here in Congress and we need to be as involved as possible to make sure that we bring peace to the region.”
Path forward with Iran deal/Middle East
"First of all, I believe that it is a big mistake of the president to pull us out of the Iran deal. This was a deal that was put together by P5 + 1, by the leaders of the world and strongest country in the world. It was a negotiator agreement that would bring peace to the area and I believe that the president pulling out of it is committing a big mistake, it’s not going to help in bringing peace to the area and we obviously want to do everything possible to make sure Iran never gets ahold of any nuclear weapons but we also have to make sure that we are working with our allies in the region to bring peace.”
What kind of strategy do you want to see in handling that region?
"The president should be a uniter, not a divider. And right now what we are seeing is that the president has been dividing not only our but the rest of the world. So I want to see a strategy right now from the president that will bring all these countries together at the table to come up with a strategy on how to bring peace to the region."
Do you think there should be limits set for the scope of the Mueller investigation that isn’t already in place?
“I believe that Robert Mueller should be able to subpoena whoever he needs to subpoena to get to the bottom of this investigation. We are concerned about the role that Russia has played in the past elections. We’re concerned about the possible collusion between the president and the Russian government and we have to make sure that we do everything possible that there’s a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of this and make sure that we get answers so that we can prevent this from happening in the future. The last thing we need is for the 2018 election to also be mangled with and have Russians involved with it to change the outcome of the races. I am concerned and I believe the investigators should be doing everything possible to get answers.”
Are you concerned about North Korea's threat to cancel the summit with the US and if it does happen what do you expect to come out of it?
“I was encouraged last week where we saw both of the leaders come together and shake hands. Like the rest of the world, we want to see peace. We want to see peace in that region particularly especially when you see two leaders who have not talked in many many years come together, that is encouraging. But I’m also discouraged that the president has not shown any leadership whatsoever on what his strategy is going to be with the region. He should be doing everything possible to work with both the south and the north and with the rest of the region with our allies to come up to peace and a solution with this problem.”
Many people in Nevada are against Yucca mountain, but Nye County is for it saying it will create jobs to what do you say to those people?
“Look I’ve been in opposition to the Yucca Mountain project for many years as has the rest of the delegation. I’m concerned about the safety of our residents of Nevada. If we’re concerned about creating jobs we can create jobs in many other ways and we’re seeing that right now. Nevada has one of the strongest economies in the country. We’re seeing jobs almost every single day. Now we have to continue to work on that every day to make sure that those that are still unemployed get an opportunity to get employment and those who are unemployed have an opportunity to get employed. So, yes, I’m concerned about the Nye County residents who want the Yucca mountain project to move forward because of the jobs aspect of it but I’m more concerned about the safety of our residents. Nevada depends on tourism, Nevada depends on people coming into our cities so not only am I concerned about the residents of Nevada, I’m also concerned about the tourists who come and visit us. Can you imagine a situation where an accident happens and some of this nuclear waste, toxic waste gets leaked? And people could potentially die, that would have a detrimental impact to our economy. We would lose thousands of jobs and that’s what I’m concerned about and I’m looking forward to continuing to have the discussion with our Nye county residents.”
Preview of your testimony today in front of the Veterans Affairs Committee?
"Today I have the opportunity to testify in front of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I’m going to be discussing the integral role that veterans play in our economy in Nevada. We have almost 300,000 veterans in the state of Nevada. 57,000 of those live in my district. I have Nellis AFB, Creech AFB, Hawthorne army depot and so a lot of these folks who are in the military end up retiring in my district and southern Nevada, so I’m going to talk about the importance of making sure that we have economic opportunities for them when these military service members leave their service with the military. We want to make sure the job opportunities are there. I’m going to talk a little bit about the STEP act. That’s a bill that I introduced last year to allow community colleges to retrain our veterans for jobs of the future. I belive this is good for our veterans, it will put them back to work but it’s also good for our economy because it’s going to help fill jobs of the future that we’re having a hard time filling.”
Are you throwing your support behind any candidate to replace your seat?
"All the candidates who are running on the democratic side are doing a great job, they’re out there campaigning. I’m seeing them out on the campaign trail while I’m out there visiting my constituents and I wish them all luck. I believe that most of them are qualified to be here in congress and I believe that they’re all working hard to earn the votes of the people. At the end of the day you have to earn the trust of the people and they’re doing that every day so I wish them all luck.”