The Congressional Black Caucus began 2017 with the ceremonial swearing-in of its largest membership in history. Now 49 members strong, the CBC wields a significant amount of power on Capitol Hill.

This year’s new members include the Senator from California, Kamala Harris, Congressmen Anthony Brown from Maryland, and Florida’s Al Lawson. The CBC also welcomed its new Chairman, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA).

After the swearing-in ceremony, Roland Martin caught up with Rep. Richmond, who talked about the challenges the CBC will face in the current political climate and how the caucus will proceed forward fighting for the best interests of their constituents.

Richmond explained despite having 49 different voices there is one common goal, which is to fight for African-American interests across the country and around the world, as well as stand up for justice.

“We’re going to continue to do that no matter who is in the White House,” Richmond said.

Though Republicans made the repeal of Obamacare one of their top priorities, Rep. Richmond said, “The Affordable Care Act is not just for African-Americans, there are many poor White people through rural areas and urban centers that benefit from the Affordable Care Act, especially when you start talking about pre-existing conditions, children under 26 being able to stay on their parents’ health care [insurance].”

Calling ACA a “phenomenal piece of legislation,” Rep. Richmond vowed to “fight to protect it.”

When talking about President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration, Richmond told Martin, “His first appointments or nominations have not been received as a gesture of goodwill or an effort to find common ground.

“We look forward to the challenge and anticipate it’s going to be a challenge until we see otherwise,” he continued.

Watch Roland Martin’s conversation with Congressman Cedric Richmond in the video clip above.

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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