Congress, Texas, Kobe discussed on Model Majority Podcast
Campaign is adapting to Kobe. Nineteen and what they're doing to fight back against the Anti Asian hate crimes and discrimination. That's happening across the country as a result of the fear surrounding Kobe. One thousand nine hundred and fanned by Donald Trump. Today's episode is interview. I did with Sri Preston Co Carney. Who was running for Congress to represent the twenty second Congressional district in Texas? It's a super super diverse district and one thing that has really distinguished. Sri Campaign is that he is running multi-language outreach in twenty one different languages to his constituents to make sure they're seen their heard they're cared for and being included in the political process. We discussed how his campaign operation has been adapting to become a source of service and information for his community during Kobe. Nineteen and how they are helping to fight back against the Anti Asian sentiments and really hate crimes and discrimination happening in Texas and also we talked about the state of America's standing in the world which is very qualified to speak on having served in the US foreign service in multiple countries for fourteen years before running for Congress if you are curious about his first congressional run two years ago listen to our previous episode with him in episode eighty three. Also go check out. Part one of this series with Congressman Harley Rueda and partout with congressman. Gil Cisneros arrived without further ado. Here's my conversation with Sri Preston Kocarnik Preston Carney. Welcome back to the model. George podcast today. Thank you very much for having me. It's exciting to be back. Although it's a strange time I'm excited about the program at least so I yeah indeed indeed. Thank you appreciate that Sir. So let's actually start by getting to know your district little bit. I A lot of people may or may not know where you're running for Congress right now. So could you tell us a bit about the Congressional district that you are currently running to represent? Where is it and any sort of interesting characteristics that exist in that particular area of the country? Sure so my district is Texas. Twenty two which is Easy to remember. Because my name is Shirley Preston Kulkarni and the three biggest towns in the district spell sap K. Sugarland pair Landon Katie. Were RIGHT OUTSIDE OF HOUSTON. The suburbs here and something. That's kind of unusual about this is that we have a very high Asian American population about twenty percent and in fact we are the second most diverse county of segments diverse district in the entire country. Right now we're also the fastest growing district in America and the largest by population. We're now larger than five states because we've grown so much since the two thousand and ten cents and we'll see after this census car up the district but I mean there's a tremendous opportunity especially with all these different immigrant groups like my dad who was an immigrant who moved in here and the district has transformed completely from. When I was a kid to now it's I should really Fresh information I didn't know that district is growing population so quickly so one thing want to begin. A conversation with is first of all your campaign running for reelection. You're on this show in the two thousand eighteen psycho to talk about your first run for Congress love to hear first of all just. How is your campaigns operation adapting strategically or otherwise to this new era of cove in nineteen as released to the condition ground in Texas sure So first of all just going back to twenty eight eighteen The way that we did things before I'm a former foreign service officer so I speak six languages myself and when I resigned from the Foreign Service and came back here We started running in fifteen different languages to try and reach out to all of these immigrant communities And before Kobe Nineteen. We were actually running this time in twenty one. Different languages now Now that everything's shut down. Actually that kind of outreach has become even more important than what I mean by. That is that people feel very isolated from each other and so we we are getting out to communities especially senior citizens especially the people who are by themselves but in particular immigrant communities So If you have members of your family that They speak English as a second language. We WanNa make sure and get all that information out to them. So we've been translating information about the disease and about stay at home waters Working with this group on an APP that will help you diagnose whether you should come in for a test drive through tests yourself in multiple languages. we've been doing Virtual town halls with people To get out information about epidemiology palm analogy about About psychiatry. How people should deal mentally and physically. We've been doing a food drive in a blood drive and a personal protective equipment drive but the biggest thing is checking in on people. Because even if you don't have any medical problems even if you don't have any financial problems that feeling of community gets lost and so having all of our volunteers doing what they were doing last year for votes. We're just doing it for our neighbors now. Just calling to see. How are you doing? Are you okay Do you need anything and if you do. How can we help? Fill those gaps. So that's the biggest adjustment that we've been making and I I gotTa tell you people really appreciate those phone calls just to check in when they haven't seen anybody face to face in weeks. It makes a gigantic difference interesting and hearing a very common theme from you and other people's campaigns right because I feel like obviously a typical in a typical climate with campaign. You do all these outrageou voter contact give people to register to vote and actually vote etc etc and it sounds like for your campaign and some of the others have talked to is almost being repurpose into another source of public service already. Even though you're not you know technically in office you're also doing the work that a congress person already does. I mean so that goes back to the basic question of what is a campaign if a campaign is just knocking on doors or campaign rallies or of a campaign is Fundraising and advertisements. And Yeah a lot of these. Things are very difficult to do but if a campaign is being that connection being that voice for the community and for the people then this is how we do it. This is the campaign. This is connecting communities. It's making sure that if people have problems are being addressed You know we were able to connect for example when I I I went out and we did this. Dry for gloves for masks for all those things that the frontline healthcare workers need in order to test people treat them. We were calling dentists. We were calling construction companies and a veterinarian. Anybody who had those extra things to donate and that was one part of it but in the process Physicians and nurses would call me and say we need help here and one of the major hospitals systems here Their supply chain manager. I ended up connecting them with somebody else who had supply they can fulfil an order so we got an order of a million masks so filled for hospital but all of that is just for making these calls. I mean at the end of the day. It's not that we have a lot of resources in the campaign. What we have is a network of people and when you have a crisis that's the biggest thing. How do you pull people together to deal with a crisis together because you know we we realize? Now we're not. We're not all individuals separate in this crisis. We have to face these challenges together and that's true for for The economic challenges the health challenges the education challenges by and we're learning about more and more towns that people are facing every single day. And so for me. That's the basic purpose of being in Congress. Actually solve problems for people whether it's in Washington or right here in our neighborhood right right and one thing I want to expand a little bit on is when we last roughly two years ago one of the things that really distinguished your campaign from others. Is this incredible multi-language outreach to you're doing before and looks like it's expanded even more this time around. How has that program evolved behind the scenes even with or without cove ed? And how important is that to kind of your strategy going forward as we still need to continue to campaign going into November and all that. So how how is that Program evolved in general. Sure so when we first started Like I said Six languages from my time in the Foreign Service and I said why don't we reach out to voters these different communities in multiple languages. And the answer that I was given was. Hey everybody speaks English and be Most of these folks don't both at their immigrants so don't bother with them the easiest way to lose an election is to As they go after people who don't vote and so we said the easiest way to get changes to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results so We did it. We campaigned In fifteen languages fully last time including Chinese and Vietnamese Hindi at the and African languages. Well Ibo Uraba and the result was that we got over thirty thousand immigrants. Show up who hadn't voted for president but they voted in a midterm election. So we show that this actually can have a huge impact and bring people in and it's and for that question about well don't people speak. English is not really about. Do you speak English or not? But it's really about is saying. Do you see me. Do you see my community. Do we have value? We have a voice and so The same person could call and just sound like any other salesperson on the phone but if you start the conversation in someone's native language immediately everything changes right and it's the same thing if you were going to an African American church and you didn't know anything about African American history or Culture People. Look at you like you're crazy. You're like come both from you. You have to say that your community makes a difference. It's not it's not just You're trying to get their vote from them. If you're trying to talk to them in your specially trying to listen to them and their community and so the weight of that's changed this time even before covert nineteen is we were. We were expanding a lot in terms of the immigrant communities were dealing with so with Asian community. That's very easy to see the just from the voter names here. The Vietnamese Motors. The Chinese voters Gujarat. The that they'll go Nigerian voters would Latino communities just like Asian. They're not a monolith. And that's what we're trying to get Folks understand if you treat all Asians as as one thing you know that they don't have all of these different cultures and communities. Of course you're not GONNA get show. Same thing is true. What is the Colombians and Venezuelans Puerto Ricans and Salvadorans and Mexican Americans who've been here five years and they speak English as a second language and they have Mexican Americans who've been here five hundred years and would laugh at you if you sent them a text message in Spanish? You have to know those community you have to spend the time of those communities and so we were doing that even before the main difference now. Is that all of that entity that we put into building out these networks. It's even more important during crisis because we're not just calling those people saying yes or no. We're actually trying to figure out from them. What did they need right now? And it's specific abandoned at our campaign has no other campaign that I know of the country has to be able to get out to all these communities and a crisis in a disaster situation so has your campaign. Volunteer Corps actually grew during this time or like. They're getting even more involved almost more active in a sense. Then maybe during normal times. Yeah so I mean some people. Of course it depends. You know the answer is always it depends some people if your kids for example or at home right now and you're trying to figure out. How do I educate my kids? And so were kick and still keep my business Flow of course It'll draw more from you. But by the same token I talked to some senior citizens who said man..