FULL EPISODE: Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace & Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs on their expectations for the 117th Congress

U.S. Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace, declared the winner of the U.S. First Congressional District Race...
U.S. Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace, declared the winner of the U.S. First Congressional District Race by the Associated Press, thanked supporters and voters for her victory and said saving Parris Island would be her first job.(Live 5)
Updated: Nov. 28, 2020 at 1:32 PM EST
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), members of the freshman class of the 117th Congress, for Gray Television’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, November 29, 2020. The program will also feature a discussion with Kevin Cirilli, Bloomberg TV’s chief Washington correspondent and host of the “Sound On” podcast.

Rep.-Elect Mace of South Carolina, a high school-dropout who went on to become the first woman to graduate from The Citadel and the first Republican woman elected to Congress from her home state, told Van Susteren: “It’s not just Democrat women that have a monopoly … on breaking glass ceilings.”

When asked if the single mother of two was ready for her new role, Mace answered: “I certainly am ... And I want to see moms everywhere on either side of the political aisle raise their hand and step into the arena and go for it. That’s the only way we’re going to see progress.”

“The excitement and the humbleness that I feel right now, I want to put it in a bottle and put it on the shelf so that I can remember this feeling six months from now when I’m incredibly frustrated by the gridlock and how slow it is to get anything done up here,” said Mace.

Democratic Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs of San Diego, who worked at the State Department under President Obama and served as a policy advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, described herself as a “pragmatic progressive” who ran on Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.

The 31-year-old (the same age as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) dismissed differences within the Democratic caucus, insisting that “we agree on so much more than we disagree on,” and said of her new job: “I take seriously that I and my class were elected in the midst of a once-in-a-generation public health and economic crisis.”

Jacobs, who was appointed by Speaker Pelosi to be the new member representative on the Democratic Policy and Steering Committee, also said that fellow members of the Democratic freshman class were committed to being “bridge builders,” and that she’d “had some great conversations” with her Republican counterparts.

“We don’t necessarily agree on how to get somewhere, but we agree on where we want to go, and we agree on getting certain things done,” said Jacobs of new GOP members. “So I think that there’s going to be a lot of areas for us to work together and really move things forward for the American people.”

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace Highlights

On why she ran for Congress

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Well, everyone’s got a story and when I had my acceptance speech, I had it in the parking lot at a Waffle House off the side of the interstate, which is where I had my very first job in Charleston, South Carolina. At the age of 17, I dropped out of high school, eventually made my way to the Citadel, and was the first woman to graduate from there 21 years ago. And now I’m the first Republican woman elected to Congress from my home state, and I’ve been given so many opportunities in the Lowcountry and I’m here to give back to that same community.

On how far she has come

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

I’m a single working mom now and will be in the halls of Congress in January. And it is enormously humbled to see where I’ve come from and to see if I can make it, if this girl from Goose Creek can make it, anybody can. If you have a dream, you set a goal, you work hard, you can be successful.

On hiring women to work on her campaign

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Yeah. All of my campaign staff, from the campaign manager on down, were women. One of the things ironically that I learned very young, Greta, at the age of 18 when I was a cadet at the Citadel is that women are tougher on other women and we don’t do a very good job of really supporting and bringing each other up. And that’s been true in business and as a state lawmaker. I’ve been a state lawmaker for three years now and I really wanted to, if I found the right women, I wanted to hire them and give them an opportunity of a lifetime to be in one of the hottest races in America this cycle.

On women (and mothers) in Congress

Greta Van Susteren

Well, you have your work cut out for you because first of all, Washington, many people say it’s broken, but you are a single mother. Justice Barrett has young school age children. A lot of more women are coming to Congress with young children. You ready for this?

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

I certainly am. We can do anything. We can literally run the world if we want to. If we want to see women have a seat at the table politically, we have to run if we want to win. That’s the most important thing. And I want to see moms everywhere on either side of the political aisle raise their hand and step into the arena and go for it. That’s the only way we’re going to see progress.

Greta Van Susteren

Why do you think so many women were elected this round?

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Well, I think a lot of Republican women saw what happened in 2018 with all the Democratic women stepping up and it’s not just Democrat women that have a monopoly. They don’t have monopoly on breaking glass ceilings. Republican women have been doing it too and I think we saw hundreds of women across the country raise their hand and say, we’re going to do it. And I’m not the only single mom up here either, I don’t believe. We doubled the number of Republican women in the house this year, but we can’t stop just in 2020. This doesn’t end. We’ve got to do it again in two years. And this is the most inclusive and diverse Republican freshmen class we’ve ever seen in our nation’s history and I’m really excited and honored to be a part of it.

On defeating Joe Cunningham and the transition

Greta Van Susteren

You defeated incumbent Joe Cunningham. Tough to do that phone call when he calls you. I guess he called you, right?

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

No, not at all. He was a gentleman. He was very kind and generous. And in fact, through the transition process, his staff has been wonderful, has worked with my staff during the transition. They’ve been very, very good to work with.

Greta Van Susteren

I read that you hired one of his employees who did the constituent outreach in South Carolina. First of all, is that true? And secondly, it does show a level of collegiality that we oftentimes don’t think about when we hear about Washington.

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Of course. Yes, that is true and we’re going to keep all of his constituent services staff. I think it’s really important that you have that continuity. And if the job really is to serve your constituents, then we’ve got to make sure we have no gaps, no pauses, that everybody has that continuity of service. There are so many cases still open. We’ve got to make sure that we serve every single person in the district regardless of their party affiliation. This is not a partisan office. I represent everybody in office whether they voted for me or not.

On her committee assignment wish list

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

Well, as a freshman, we don’t really get a choice as much as they like to say, Hey, give us your top five list. In my district, transportation infrastructure is a real big one. We have the Port of Charleston, we have the Boeing Dreamliner being manufactured there. We’ve got a lot of manufacturing and all the suppliers that come with it. Natural resources would be great because we do live along the coast and I want to ban offshore drilling off our coast. That’s something I would love to be able to work on, on a permanent solution in that regard. Armed services or veterans affairs. We’ve got the VA in there. There are a lot of places where I would love to work, and in fact, as a state lawmaker, I worked on prison reform and criminal justice reform. Really, I just want to find a place I can call home and just get to work.

On visiting the Capitol for the first time for new member orientation

Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.)

The excitement and the humbleness that I feel right now, I want to put it in a bottle and put it on the shelf so that I can remember this feeling six months from now when I’m incredibly frustrated by the gridlock and how slow it is to get anything done up here. I hope I remember this feeling forever.

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs Highlights

On where she lands on the political spectrum

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

I consider myself a pragmatic progressive. I ran on Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. Because of the quirks of the California top two system, in order to win, I also had to win Republican voters, and so I spent a lot of time in the general election talking to no party preference and Republican voters about issues like small businesses, and childcare, and infrastructure, that I think we’re going to be able to get done on a bipartisan basis.

On partisanship and the new freshman class

Greta Van Susteren

Do you think your new freshmen class in the Congress can bridge the gap a little bit more. I mean, keeping your own political ideologies, Republican, Democrat, but we’ve been a very partisan city for a long time. Do you do think that your new class, a younger class, is going to make it any different?

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

Absolutely. Among the Democrats in our freshman class, we span the gamut from people who beat long-term incumbents, to people who won in open blue seats, to people who flipped seats from red to blue. While I know that the press loves to make a lot about the differences inside the Democratic caucus, what I can tell you is that we agree on so much more than we disagree on. Our class is very committed to being some of those bridge builders within our caucus, and as you mentioned, across the aisle.

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

We have a number of new young Republican freshmen coming in, and I’ve had some great conversations with them, where we don’t necessarily agree on how to get somewhere, but we agree on where we want to go, and we agree on getting certain things done, even if we don’t agree on why we should get those things done. So I think that there’s going to be a lot of areas for us to work together and really move things forward for the American people.

On visiting the Capitol for the first time for new member orientation

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

It’s very surreal. I think that part of it is, you don’t even think about the mundane parts, of, it really is just starting a new job, and you have to get an office set up, and you have to hire staff, and there are just so many of these things. But you also look around and think about the important decisions that have been taken in this place, and the people in history who have served in this room, in the very seats that you’re going to be serving in.

Especially coming in in the middle of a global pandemic, and an economic crisis where so many families are struggling, I think I really feel and felt the weight of the moment, and the weight of the responsibility that’s been placed in me and my colleagues, to get our country back on track and to rebuild for the future that we all deserve.

On her age and why she ran

Greta Van Susteren

Okay. You’re 31 years old, but if you and I were talking 10 years ago when you were 21, and I said to you, “What do you think you’ll be doing in 10 years?” what would you have told me then?

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

Well, definitely not this. I never thought that I would run for office. I was in the process of getting my master’s degree in international affairs, and then went and worked at the UN and then the State Department. I always thought that I would be a behind the scenes policy advisor, but after 2016, when it was clear that all of the people that I looked up to didn’t necessarily have the answers, I felt like it was important for me to step up, and that we really needed a new generation of leaders.

And I take seriously that I and my class were elected in the midst of a once-in-a-generation public health and economic crisis.

On Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

She very graciously offered her congratulations and has spent a number of times talking to our freshman class about what we can expect and what the House Democratic Caucus will be prioritizing in the next Congress. I’m very fortunate that I was also nominated by my colleagues in the freshman class and appointed by the speaker to be our representative on the Democratic Policy and Steering Committee. That is the body that does committee assignments and the broad overview of policy priorities for our caucus.

On her committee assignment wish list

Rep.-Elect Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.)

Well, obviously my background is in foreign policy, so sitting on the Foreign Affairs Committee is something I’m really, really interested in. And then, San Diego is the proud home to a number of military bases and to a very large military and veteran community, and so I think serving our community on the House Armed Services Committee would also be really meaningful.

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About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

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