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Congresswoman Katie Porter warns of the ‘intentional strategy’ to silence us

Millions of Americans have already cast their votes in this year’s highly anticipated midterm elections. All 435 House seats and 35 of the 100 Senate seats are up for grabs on Nov. 8. One of those seats belongs to California Congresswoman Katie Porter. The whiteboard-wielding representative has earned a reputation with her strong voice and quick wit when questioning billionaire bankers and Center for Disease Control and Prevention officials.

Rep. Porter joined Yahoo’s MAKERS Conference in October to talk about the election and to give her opinion on some of the biggest issues facing the country. Abortion is top of mind for many voters, especially since the overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer. “The Supreme Court didn't take away your rights. The Supreme Court took away the constitutional backstop to abortion being permissible,” the former law professor said. “That means that the right to have an abortion, the right to make your own decisions about when and if to start a family is on each of us. We are going to decide whether or not abortion is safe and legal in this country. And we're going to do it in this election, and the one after this, and the one after this.”

When it comes contentious issues such as abortion, Porter said it’s important for Americans to listen and have respect for other people’s viewpoints. “I tell them, ‘It's because I respect your opinion that I am asking you to respect mine.’” Porter said. “As a politician, it's my job to know where my job ends and yours starts. And it's your decision whether to have a family. It's your decision whether to give birth. That's not my job.”

However, Porter admitted that having a civil conversation can be difficult, given the current political climate. “Political violence, intimidation, it's not an accident. It didn't come out of nowhere,” she said. “There's a very intentional strategy on the other side that is trying to silence us. And by the way, it's working. We have many fewer volunteers, many fewer phone bankers, many fewer door knockers than we saw in 2020 and 2018.” For those who are out there knocking on doors, Porter had some advice. “If you were saving your neighbor from a fire or a flood, how would you knock?” she asked the MAKERS audience. “Well, guess what, democracy is on fire. So, knock loud! You are out there doing your civic part.”

As a member of Congress and a mother of three, Porter recognized that not everyone has the capacity for canvassing in their communities. But at the very least, she said democracy must be on your to-do list. “We're fighting for better conversations. We're fighting for civil discourse. And you can't run away from it. You have to lean into it and you have to stand up for it. Your vote is your voice. Your voice is at stake in this election. So whatever your political views are, wherever you live in the country, there is a role for you. Please do it.”