Keep an eye on Seth Moulton. The second term Congressman from Salem is leading the charge to shake up the Democratic establishment.
The former Marine Captain, with three degrees from Harvard, won his seat by challenging a fellow Democrat, longtime incumbent John Tierney.
Moulton solidified his reputation as a party rebel in 2016 by voting to oust House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Moulton is not apologetic.
“And to be honest, an awful lot of people in the caucus even people who been longtime supporters of hers, have come up to me and said, 'You know Seth, keep going. We need some change, we need some new leadership. And we appreciate the fact that you're willing to stand up and say this.'”
Alison King: What is your relationship like now with Nancy Pelosi? Has that hurt your standing in the House?
Seth Moulton: "I don’t think it hurt my standing in the House. It’s probably hurt my standing with her a little bit."
Alison King: Doesn’t that go hand in hand?
Seth Moulton: "No, because I think people appreciate that I was trying to do the right thing. And I’m proud for trying to do the right thing."
Alison King: Is it awkward now to sort of see her or work with her, or do you have a cordial relationship?
Seth Moulton: "I don't think it's...I mean, it’s not awkward for me. I mean we have a difference of opinion on this. I’ve never attacked her personally. I think she’s an extraordinary woman who has accomplished a lot. She is a 'master legislator' in her own words, but there’s a time and a change for a new generation of ideas and a new generation of leadership. I think we have to talk about how we meet the challenges going forward. Not just complain about the Republicans."
It was a controversial move for Moulton that turned off some fellow Democrats but also opened doors. He was invited to join a Bipartisan working group that meets weekly.
“It’s Democrats and Republicans who just sit around a table and try to find common ground on issues and try to explain our different views to one another,” he shares.
Moulton works on legislation, but his major focus this year is political: to win back the House by electing a new crop of fresh faces.
He has helped to raise millions of dollars for 19 Congressional candidates – all veterans.
“I do think that at a time when we’ve never had fewer veterans in Congress, in our nation’s history, it helps to have some people who have a history of putting their country first over their personal or party politics.”
Seth Moulton: "I mean honestly the best recruiter for veterans in this election cycle isn’t Seth Moulton, it’s Donald Trump. Donald Trump has convinced an awful lot of democratic Veterans that they need to step up and run to put a check on the commander-in-chief. And so there are I think about 56 democratic veterans who are running for House seats in 2018. We have endorsed 19, it’s actually a pretty selective group. So there are a lot of veterans we haven't endorsed, but the ones we have endorsed we feel like they’re running in key races that we can win that are important to taking back the House."
Alison King: Is anyone else in Congress doing as aggressively, what you’re doing right now?
Seth Moulton: "Well I think everybody is trying to help. And they’re helping in different ways. You asked me about recruiting and one of my great allies in recruiting is Catherine Clark, who is actually chair of the Democratic committee recruiting together with Denny Heck from Washington, and they're not just focused on veterans, they're focused on the entire slate of candidates across the country."
Moulton has to leave his Longworth House office building to make campaign related phone calls, on this day to Texas congressional candidate Joseph Kopser.
Moulton’s background as an Iraq war combat veteran has earned him the respect and friendship from all stripes on Capitol Hill.
Republican Congressman Joe Wilson invited Moulton to record a podcast on their shared military experience including Moulton’s view of the Iraq war.
“I had my fair share of complaints with the Iraq war. It wasn’t a war I agreed with. I was not afraid to criticize,” he says.
Wilson called Moulton a man of integrity and said, “The Democrats would be very fortunate to put a focus on Seth Moulton. He’s a person of just the highest integrity."
Alison King: When you talk about new, bold, young, smart, leadership, you’re describing yourself.
Seth Moulton: "No I’m not describing myself. I said when I took on this challenge to Pelosi that I’m not trying to run to replace her."
Alison King: Why not step up and challenge her?
Seth Moulton: "I thought it was important for people to know that I am not doing this as a self-promoter. I’m doing this because I think it’s the right thing for our country."
Some suggest Moulton is looking past the House speakership to the Presidency.
Seth Moulton: "It doesn’t come from me".
Alison King: Well, you did go to the Polk County Democratic Party fish fry.
Seth Moulton: "I’ll never live it down, I’ll never live it down."
Alison King: But you know, that sends a loud and clear message to anybody who follows politics that, you know, that’s what a presidential candidate does.
Seth Moulton: "I guess I’m too new to politics to realize it was going to send that message… But it’s fair to say that I’m not afraid to step up and lead."
Seth Moulton on Trump: "There are a lot of places where we should be leading on the issues and talking about what our vision is for the country rather than just complaining about Trump and the Republicans, and that’s at the heart of why I think we need a leadership change in the party."
Alison King: You have done your share of Trump bashing, so there’s a place for that too I would assume.
Seth Moulton: "Well, I’m just trying to be honest, I mean, we have a commander-in-chief who I think is very dangerous right now for the country. And when people ask me about that, I’m honest. I always try to just tell it like it is, you know, just be honest about the situation that we're in, and right now it is I think a dangerous situation for our country."
Alison King: Have things plateaued at all or do you feel like it gets worse?
Seth Moulton: "Oh no, it seems to get worse every day, and you never know what’s going to happen because the White House is in such chaos. But you know, we can’t as Democrats control where that’s going. We don’t have any inside knowledge on the Mueller investigation. He’s just doing his job. Who knows where it will lead. What we can do is, we can start leading ourselves and talk about what our vision is for the country, what our infrastructure plan is."
Alison King on guns: If you could get one gun bill passed tomorrow, what which one would it be?
Seth Moulton: "Universal background checks. Because we don’t have enough data on gun violence partly because Congress prohibited studying gun violence which is ridiculous. But the data that we do have shows that universal background checks would help the most."