LOWELL — As speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has a hard job and is not given proper credit, according to 3rd District Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass.
On Monday, Trahan sat down the Sun editors and reporters for an editorial board meeting which covered many topics, including calls for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, efforts to clean the Merrimack River and Pelosi’s position in the party.
Trahan is about 10 months into her two-year term representing the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts. The district stretches from Gardner in the west to Haverhill in the east.
Voters elected Trahan in the 2018 general election over Republican candidate Rick Green, after she narrowly defeated Democrat Dan Koh in the primary, a tight race in which a recount was held.
This year’s class of freshman Democrats is the most diverse yet and that diversity is reflected in the ideas being discussed – ideas that have frequently led to clashes between freshman and senior Democrats.
“One of the great things about Speaker Pelosi is she doesn’t thwart that, she doesn’t put a muzzle on anybody,” said Trahan.
Trahan called Pelosi’s ability to unite Democrats on major issues “masterful.”
Having run on a platform of lowering health-care costs, Trahan feels an affinity towards the new Democrats. The mindset of the younger Democrats approaches policy differently, rather than timing initiatives based upon elections and who will get credit.
“I think I join a class of people who don’t think like that,” said Trahan. “They’re thinking like, ‘I represent my community and want to deliver.’”
It is a sense of urgency that can be seen in Trahan’s push to clean the Merrimack River.
Trahan’s legislation, the Stop Sewage Overflow Act, was one of 19 bills highlighted on a list which Trahan shared with Sun staff. The bill is a bi-partisan effort which would double funding for communities facing wastewater infrastructure challenges like preventing raw sewage from being released into rivers.
Last year saw the release of millions of gallons of untreated sewer and storm-water runoff into the Merrimack River, which was once one of the most polluted in the country but has since been cleaned, as the Sun previously reported.
“It’s such an important resource that on our watch this cannot happen,” Trahan said.
The contamination affects communities all along the waterway.
Trahan hopes to distribute the act’s funding as grants as opposed to loans because communities like Lowell cannot tackle the issue by taking on loans.
The bill offered Trahan an opportunity to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans.
“This is one of the issues where you can start to build a muscle with working with republicans,” Trahan said.
It is an ability Trahan said she had to prove to herself that she could do.
When asked about her stance on the calls to impeach Trump, Trahan said she is standing by her support for impeachment.
It is not a decision she came to lightly, Trahan said. She believes there are grounds for impeachment, and the call is about obstruction of justice.
Pointing to emoluments concerns, Trahan said “the president should not be allowed to profit off of this job.”
“It’s important for us to continue this oversight role not just for this president but for all presidents [who follow],” Trahan said.
Robert Mueller’s testimony was important, as it allowed the public to hear what was in the report, Trahan said.
The number of calls from constituents supporting impeachment escalated, reaching the thousands, she said.
Trahan said it was not a coincidence that more elected officials supported impeachment after returning from the summer break which they spent in their districts.