Lady of the House


After eight months in office, Congresswoman Andrea Salinas has found her rhythm. She shares a townhouse with two other congresswomen. She runs from committee meeting to committee meeting, fits in caucus meetings and attends campaign fundraisers. 

Salinas is busy but she would not have it any other way. 

She still needs to figure out how she will see her daughter who attends Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, north of New York City. Salinas’ husband, Chris Ramey, is holding down the couple’s Tigard home. 

A typical Washington, D.C. day for Salinas starts about 8 a.m. with a review of materials for her day, including what committee meetings are scheduled. 

Salinas sits on the House Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology committees. Aside from the committees the congresswoman is also a member of a number of caucuses including Hispanic, Democratic Women, Pro-Choice, Mental Health and Congressional Progressives. 

“We don’t always get a lot of advanced notice,” she said of caucus meetings, in which it is decided who will speak about an issue on the House floor. 

Time is vital to Rep. Salinas. She is always trying to figure out with her communications team what is the best use of her time. She tries to make sure she has time to meet with constituents from her sixth district. 

Though it can be hard to make sure she has continuity in the content she hears, she asks lots of questions. 

“I’m what I consider a real legislator,” she said. “I really love the legislative part of this and the policy discussions.” 

The Science, Space and Technology Committee discusses hard issues such as artificial intelligence (AI). 

“Science is not an easy subject,” she said. 

When her two committees meet at the same time she has the same question of her staff: “What makes more sense?” to attend. 

She and her staff have to decide where to spend the bulk of her time. “I don’t like these half meetings where I don’t get enough information to process and figure out what’s best for the district.” 

When bills do come up for a vote on the House floor, debate doesn’t start until the afternoon and can go on until 8 or 10 p.m. 

Winning her 2022 campaign by less than 3 percentage points, Salinas expects to face another tough race in 2024. The 2024 campaign season brings up a discussion about what is happening between Democrats and Republicans in the House. Salinas said that members want to work together. 

“The Freedom Caucus really is driving the Republican c o n f e r e n c e right now,” she said, adding, “I don’t wade into these hotly contested debates, but the Freedom Caucus is holding their conference hostage.” 

She doesn’t see House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as very effective. “Any one person in their caucus can call for the speaker’s gavel. It puts their entire conference in limbo at every vote.” 

Salinas said she is not a transactional legislator. “I’m not beyond approach.” 

She thinks men are more transactional than women. “Women like to figure out what the end game looks like and what the actual result is,” she said. 

Salinas said the sixth district needs somebody who can move the dial for us. 

“We have a lot of need here and I don’t have time for bomb throwing; that doesn’t get me results,” she said. 

Since taking office in January Salinas has been vocal about mental health issues.