Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush: ‘I’ve slept in my car’

Bush, a registered nurse, activist and single mom making double history, unseated 20-year incumbent Lacy Clay.

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After last Tuesday’s election, Missouri gained its first Black and its first female member of Congress. Democratic Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush will soon be a lawmaker in Washington, D.C.

Bush, a registered nurse, activist and single mother, unseated 20-year incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay.

In a new interview with MSNBC, Bush, 44, spoke about what she plans on changing when she’s in office, and she touched on the difficult road she faced on her way to Capitol Hill.

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“I’ve slept in my car,” Bush said. “I know what it’s like to try to move the car around the St. Louis area, hoping that the police won’t stop me and take my kids from me. I know what that’s like.” 

For years, Bush has been on the ground in St. Louis working on combating the effects of homelessness and food insecurity in her community. She believes in holistic support for struggling communities, which involves raising the minimum wage.

Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush, the first Black woman elected to Congress from the state of Missouri, speaks at her campaign headquarters’ election-night watch party Nov. 3 in St. Louis. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

The current federal minimum wage is about $15,000 a year. Many Democrats advocate raising that to about $31,000 a year, but Republicans are vehemently opposed.

“It’s one thing to know I can’t eat today, but I’m making sure my children eat,” Bush said. “It’s another thing — it does something to your mind — when you know not only am I not eating today, I don’t how I’m going to eat next week.”

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She says being poor is very expensive, and getting help from kinfolk and friends, who are often in the same position, is difficult for many families out there. 

Bush believes the current government is allowing people to struggle unnecessarily and that it needs, in her words, radical change. She plans on trying to make some of these changes when she heads into office early next year. 

Bush also touched on the impacts of COVID-19, and she blamed President Donald Trump and Missouri Governor Mike Parson for downplaying the pandemic’s seriousness and suggesting we should all just move on from it.

“We shouldn’t be here. Our country is better than this, our government should be better than this,” she said. “But we’re not seeing it.” 

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During a speech she gave after her victory, Bush stood in front of a Black Lives Matter banner and spoke about her dream for a new America.

“We, the people, have committed to a vision of America,” she said, “that works for all of us. An America that treats every single person with respect, that recognizes healthcare as a human right, that believes every person deserves food to eat, a home to live in and a dignifying life.”

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