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Congressman Raul Ruiz Pushes For Change

By Megan Terlecky, Anchor / Reporter, megan.terlecky@cbslocal2.com
Timothy Kiley, Assistant News Director, timothy.kiley@kesq.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:32:33 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 06:04:00 PM CST

Megan Terlecky sat down with Congressman Raul Ruiz in Washington D.C. to talk about his hopes for change in how Congress operates.

Washington D.C. -

Congressman Raul Ruiz says it's time to change the conversation in Washington.  His fellow Democrats on the Hill and Constituents we talked with believe he can get it done -- even though he is a freshman.

We were the only local station with a Reporter in Washington D.C. -- exclusively following the beginning of the Congressman's term.

Megan Terlecky sat down with Ruiz as he explained his plan to get things moving in Congress.

Congressmen and Women filed in Ruiz's office to welcome him to Capitol Hill.

Rep. Jackie Speier spoke emotionally about the Freshman Congressman.

"His story is the American dream realized and I couldn't be prouder to have you as a colleague in the House of Representatives and He is going to serve you well, me well and the country well because he is going to help put the face of every American front and center."

Out of 84 freshman Ruiz was one of two picked by Politico.com as most likely to succeed.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren says "He is so smart and so dedicated to the people of this district, I think he is going to make a huge difference here in Congress and not everyone can do that, you can see that he just has a knack for understanding how to move in this environment, how to be strategic and yet confident of his own values and the values he brings from his own district, I really think he is a specular addition to the U.S. House of Representatives."

It's a lot of praise for someone so new to Congress.

Ruiz understands.  "I am going to be one freshman out of a large class this year and one member out of a large Congress however in the district I am one person, there is only one Congress-person in the district and that is where our accomplishments are going to happen which is the district.  If we can bring people together if we can inspire those to think the impossible and work hard at achieving solution based problem solving them we can accomplish great things."

Ruiz says he is different because of his background as a doctor.

"Just being a doctor I have a better approach to policy making using the frame work of a Physician's point of view which is you gather data you get the evidence you work on a diagnosis, then you come up with the best evidenced based plan to find the treatment then you implement then you follow up and you measure the outcome and you change course if it's not working and so these are the type of frameworks that I bring to the table as well as working in a team."

Ruiz believes that a change in attitude could make a big difference.

"I think that part of the problem is that everybody has been playing politics too much and there is hyper-partisan gridlock and we mentioned before that there is this language of confrontation and language of gridlock that goes on that begins even in the campaigns and it gets transferred over into the floor and so one of the things that I am going to focus on is create the language of cooperation and bring civility and get to know people on a very personal level and get to know their family their spouses, their children and that way we can sit down and have a conversation and be able to find that common ground.  My father taught me never to complain unless i am going to be part of the solution so that is what this office is about."

And the Constituents who traveled to Washington for his swearing in believe he can do it.

Robert Moon of Palm Springs believes in Ruiz.

"Congress need a doctor in the house it really does in many ways, we have all been watching the last few days how this Congress has been so disfunctional and Raul is so smart and so organized he is so intelligent and I think, he will be a huge help on getting Congress on the right track."

Joe Enos of Palm Springs is also hopeful.

"I think this represents a whole new day for the district, its great to have new representation, new representation is going to be great for all of the district especially for us in Palm Springs, its going to be great for LGBT issues. Dr. Ruiz is going to represent more of the constituents now that he is in office."

Gina Chapa of Indio came a long way to see Dr. Ruiz sworn in as Congressman Ruiz.

"People could see his real heart that he really is doing this to improve the situation."