home, they make most of the health-care decisions
for their families, and they take their kids to school
in the morning. It’s an honor to help bring that perspective to Congress.
Do you think the gender barrier has been bro-
ken in the political process?
We’ve made significant strides in breaking the barrier, but there are still more mountains to conquer,
more women to elect, more women to lead. We’ve
seen where women are breaking barriers in so many
different industries — medicine, science, education,
technology, politics, engineering. But there’s still
more to be done.
What do you believe is the most important
issue for Congress this year?
First and foremost, we need to get people back to
work. So we’ll be continuing our focus to create
jobs, grow the economy without adding to the debt,
and increasing everyone’s take-home pay. Right
now, three out of every four Americans live paycheck to paycheck. We need to change that. We
need to make sure the number of people entering
the labor force is higher than the number leaving it.
So that’s what we’ll be focused on this year.
Do you have an issue you would like to share
with our readers?
As a mother to a son with Down syndrome, I’m especially passionate about creating opportunities for
those with special needs. Cole is like any other six-year-old — he dances to Bruce Springsteen, watches
Navy games with his dad and loves to read — but
he faces challenges because of his disability. As a
co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, I’m working to advance a bipartisan
bill, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)
Act, which would provide economic security for
those with disabilities.
The ABLE legislation is simple: It is predicated
upon the belief that people with disabilities should
be treated fairly. Current law requires people with
disabilities to meet an asset requirement to qualify
for Medicaid and some Social Security benefits. If
an individual has more than $2,000 in assets, he or
she is no longer eligible for benefits. The result is
that people with disabilities do not have access to
savings plans, such as 529 plans, to help them with
educational and other expenses. They are forced
to live in poverty because current federal policies
mandate that they do so to be eligible for support. In
creating ABLE accounts, the legislative intent is to
provide a vehicle whereby a person with a disability
would be able to save for disability-related expens-
es. ABLE would allow my son Cole — and millions
like him — to save for an education, pay for trans-
portation to a job and enhance choice and flexibility.
It’s one step toward economic self-sufficiency. It is
must-pass, bipartisan legislation for Congress.
Rep. Sanchez rep-
What do you think of the convenience store
nal District, which
includes the cities of
Anaheim, Santa Ana
and parts of the cities
of Garden Grove and
Orange in Orange
County. She serves
as ranking member of the House Armed Services
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and the second
ranked Democrat on the Committee on Homeland
Security. Sanchez is also a member of the fiscally
conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the
bipartisan, bicameral Joint Economic Committee.
The convenience store industry is an important
economic driver. Convenience stores, so often
mom-and-pops, provide one-stop shops for communities across the country. In California, there are
more than 11,000 stores that anchor and connect
our cities and towns and save Californians valuable
time and money.
When was the last time you were in a
This past weekend. I’m always running around my
district and convenience stores make life a lot easier when I’m on the move.
What is your favorite item to buy in a
Newspapers. But when my husband sends me in it’s
always for Haagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Chocolate