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Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin

Katie Porter - Summer Staff Picks

Tue Jul 25 2023
California RepresentativeCongressional HearingsWhiteboard StrategySingle ParentsGovernment OversightEconomic ProsperityCampaign Finance Reform


The episode covers the journey and accomplishments of California Representative Katie Porter, known for her tough questioning using a whiteboard during congressional hearings. It explores her background growing up on a farm, her grassroots funding approach, and her focus on important issues such as rising drug costs, challenges faced by single parents, and loopholes in the tax system. The episode also highlights Porter's values, goals, and commitment to fighting for economic prosperity for all Americans.


Katie Porter's Whiteboard Strategy

Porter's use of a whiteboard during congressional hearings helps present information clearly, prevent evasion of questions, and highlight important issues.

Challenges Faced by Single Parents

Porter addresses the challenges faced by single parents, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating for support and equal opportunities.

Importance of Government Oversight

The episode emphasizes the importance of government oversight regardless of political administration, aiming to restore accountability and resonate with the American people.

Katie Porter's Commitment to Economic Prosperity

Porter believes in fighting for economic prosperity for all Americans, working towards removing obstacles and helping people out of poverty and hardship.

Campaign Finance Reform

Porter advocates for changing campaign finance laws, including reversing Citizens United and stopping corporate PAC contributions, to ensure fair representation.

Katie Porter's Values and Goals

Porter's values include protecting democracy, engaging with the American people, and using her position as a tool to work on behalf of the American people.


  1. Introduction
  2. Congressional Hearings and Questioning
  3. Government Oversight and Postmaster DeJoy
  4. Katie Porter's Political Journey and Community Engagement
  5. Key Issues Addressed by Katie Porter
  6. Katie Porter's Stance and Experiences
  7. Representative Katie Porter's Values and Goals


00:02 - 07:05

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  • The UNEST app allows grandparents and family friends to give funds to a child's investment account.
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  • Purdue Global offers college credit for work, school, life, or military experiences.
  • In Here's the Thing podcast, producer Maureen shares her admiration for California Representative Katie Porter.
  • Katie Porter is a single mother who fearlessly speaks truth to power and fights against price gouging and for public land protection.
  • Katie Porter quickly developed a name for herself in Congress with tough questioning using her famous whiteboard.
  • She grew up on a farm in Iowa during the farm crisis of the 1980s and attended Yale and Harvard Law School.
  • As a professor turned Congresswoman, Katie Porter enjoys learning and teaching as part of her job.

Congressional Hearings and Questioning

06:41 - 12:58

  • The speaker had a personal connection to bankruptcy due to the economic struggles of the farming community where they grew up.
  • The speaker asked Warren not to give up on them and expressed their genuine interest in learning.
  • Warren did not give up on the speaker and encouraged them to think and learn.
  • The speaker believes that many professors and witnesses give up too easily when faced with difficult questions.
  • The authority of Congress may have weakened because some people feel they can avoid answering questions from elected officials.
  • The speaker aims to restore accountability by not accepting nonsense answers or dodging tactics during hearings.
  • Despite being underestimated, the speaker continues to challenge witnesses who are contemptuous or unprepared.
  • The whiteboard is used as a tool during hearings to present information clearly and prevent evasion of questions.
  • An example was given where a worker's budget was presented using the whiteboard, highlighting their financial struggles.
  • The whiteboard helps prevent witnesses from asking for questions to be repeated or stalling for time.
  • Some witnesses need prompting to think about important issues raised during hearings.

Government Oversight and Postmaster DeJoy

12:39 - 19:10

  • The way questions are asked during government oversight hearings is important, including anticipating how witnesses will respond.
  • Oversight stays important regardless of the political administration in power.
  • After questioning witnesses, the focus is on whether it resonates with the American people rather than personal feelings.
  • There are possibilities for removing Postmaster DeJoy from his position or for him to quit.
  • The Postmaster was unable to provide information on who was responsible for certain actions, indicating a larger problem.
  • UC Irvine has contributed to changing the political landscape in Orange County through its diverse and thoughtful community.
  • Representing a diverse constituency requires the ability to communicate effectively with people from different perspectives.
  • In the first election, victory came after initially giving an uncertain speech and then winning by a small margin.
  • In the second election, victory was more decisive with a larger margin of votes.
  • Greg Roths was the opponent in the 2020 race for Congress.

Katie Porter's Political Journey and Community Engagement

18:45 - 26:13

  • Katie Porter won the second race more handily, with a six percent lead.
  • Her opponent in the 2020 race was Greg Roths from the City Council of Mission VA.
  • Porter's pitch focused on being a Democrat who provides good representation and fights for people, regardless of party affiliation.
  • Her grassroots funding and refusal to take corporate PAC money helped her reach independent and skeptical voters.
  • John Dean discovered obstruction and conspiracy statutes during Watergate, which led him to double down on his efforts.
  • Katie Porter spent $6 million in both the 2018 and 2020 elections, relying on individual contributions.
  • Porter found that she enjoyed working with constituents in her district more than being in Washington.
  • She discovered interesting businesses and organizations within her community while touring her district.
  • In Washington, Porter expected more substantive policy discussions among regular members but found that decisions were often made by leadership before reaching individual members.

Key Issues Addressed by Katie Porter

25:56 - 32:44

  • Using five minutes of questioning in Congress to ask important questions that resonate with the American people
  • Highlighting the rising costs of drugs and questioning their effectiveness
  • Discussing the challenges faced by single parents, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Addressing the impact of women leaving the workforce on the economy and global competitiveness
  • Advocating for equal opportunity and social mobility in capitalism
  • Examining loopholes in the tax system and the need for a more effective graduated income tax
  • Emphasizing the importance of targeted COVID relief while avoiding unnecessary delays
  • The risk of not investing enough in COVID relief and its potential impact on the economy

Katie Porter's Stance and Experiences

32:20 - 39:14

  • Investing stimulus funds wisely and rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse is crucial.
  • Passing a paycheck protection program that allowed Congress members to get loans is a mistake.
  • The biggest risk is not doing enough to help people out of poverty and hardship.
  • Alex Padilla, the interim senator in California, is seen as a wonderful partner and important voice for the state.
  • Katie Porter expresses her support for Alex Padilla and her excitement about working with him.
  • Katie Porter believes in fighting for economic prosperity for all Americans regardless of her position.
  • She enjoys being in the House but will make the most of any opportunity she gets.
  • Katie Porter shares her experience during the Capitol attack on January 6th, sheltering with AOC and staffers in her office.
  • To protect democracy, it's important to reaffirm that disagreement is okay but violence is never acceptable.
  • Katie Porter voted to impeach Trump twice.

Representative Katie Porter's Values and Goals

38:58 - 45:45

  • Violence in a democracy is never okay
  • Representative Katie Porter voted to impeach Trump twice and believes he should be convicted
  • The purpose of government is to do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people
  • Campaign finance laws need to be changed, including reversing Citizens United and stopping corporate PAC contributions
  • Representative Katie Porter is no longer on the financial services committee but is excited about being on the oversight and natural resources committees
  • Manufacturing jobs in the future need to be green and environmentally friendly
  • Representative Katie Porter wishes she was still on the finance committee but will continue working on financial services issues from her current position
  • She wants to engage with the American people and believes there is no bad committee in Congress
  • People are proud of Representative Katie Porter because she cares about her job and uses it as a tool to work on behalf of the American people