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New Day Sunday

At Least Three Dead, Several Injured In Montana Train Derailment; NTSB Team Headed To Scene Of Deadly Train Derailment In Montana; Biden's Sweeping Agenda Faces Make-Or-Break Week Ahead; Gallup Poll: Biden Approval Rating At New Low Of 43 Percent; U.S. COVID-19 Cases, Vaccinations Slowing Down Ahead Of Winter; Judge Temporarily Blocks NYC Vaccine Mandate For School Workers; Booster Shots Now Available For The Elderly, People At High-Risk; New York Braces For Health Care Staffing Shortage As COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Looms; NYPD Urges Shots After Eight Unvaccinated Officers Hospitalized. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 26, 2021 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[06:00:10]

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker.

We are following a developing story out of Montana where three people are dead after an Amtrak train derailed. What we are learning about that accident.

SANCHEZ: Plus, a time of intensity, that's how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi describes the week ahead as Democrats try to pass an infrastructure bill and avoid a government shutdown.

WALKER: And bracing for shortages, how New York State is preparing to keep its health care system functioning as vaccine mandates for health care workers kick in tomorrow.

SANCHEZ: And inside man, how an FBI informant provided details of the January 6th insurrection in real time and what that means for the case against the Capitol rioters.

We are so glad to have you this Sunday, September 26th. Thank you so much for waking up with us. Good morning, Amara. Great to see you.

WALKER: Good morning. Good to be with you as well, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. So, we start with a developing story out of Montana where three people have died in a train derailment. It happened on Saturday while an Amtrak train was traveling from Chicago to Seattle.

WALKER: Yes. Images of the scene show toppled cars and a lot of people just gathered around the tracks to see what happened. Authorities say eight out of the 10 cars derailed. Now the crash happened in a remote area near Joplin, Montana, that is about 30 miles from the Canadian border.

SANCHEZ: Let's get to CNN aviation and transportation correspondent Pete Muntean. Pete, a team of federal investigators headed to the scene to try to figure out what happened. What do we know so far?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. The NTSB just dispatched a go team from here in Washington. We're also hearing from Amtrak that they have an incident response team now on the ground to kick off what will be a rigorous investigation into why this Empire Builder train derailed near Joplin, Montana.

You mentioned 141 passengers and 16 crew on board. Amtrak now says passengers and crew were among the injured. The real trick here is the location. Joplin, Montana, is in Liberty County, population 150. Right now, we are being told that passengers were being taken to a nearby senior center but Amtrak, because of the location, is not able to provide other transportation, like another train, to get these people further on down the line.

This train was going between Chicago and Seattle, average speed about 50 miles an hour. It takes about 45 hours to take this trip. So it's a pretty long journey, a scenic one through the Big Sky area of Montana and beyond. We are just now hearing from passengers who described this terrifying scene as this train derailed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGAN VANDERVES, TRAIN PASSENGER: I awoke to it derailing and I would describe the experience as kind of like extreme turbulence on an airplane but like louder. And there was kind of a lot of smoke smell and it was -- the first thought I really had when I woke up was, "Oh, my God. We're derailing."

It was probably 10 or 15 seconds of rocking back and forth and tons of noise and then we came to a stop. And, really, it was -- we didn't know what was going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MUNTEAN: Local authorities will need to figure out why the three on board died and why some of those were able to make it to safety. The National Transportation Board, of course, will kick off a big human factors investigation in all of this.

They will also be looking at the speed of the train, whether or not it was under a speed restriction on that portion of track, which is operated by BNSF, not Amtrak itself. They will also be looking at the geometry of the tracks, whether or not that could have caused a problem, whether or not the rails were perfectly straight, whether or not the ties were in the proper position. So, this is just kicking off a long investigation until we figure out what exactly caused this train to derail.

WALKER: All right. Pete Muntean, appreciate your reporting this morning. Thank you for that.

Let's bring in Mary Schiavo now. She is a former inspector general with the U.S. Department of Transportation and a CNN transportation analyst. Mary, always good to have you.

So, I mean, knowing what we know, seeing those images, Mary, and obviously you are very well versed in knowing, you know, what the common causes of a train derailment are, what do you make of the scene and what could have happened?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Well, Pete made a lot of great points that -- the number one cause for train derailments is train accidents is, of course, other traffic, surface traffic, crossing the track.

[06:05:01]

But here that doesn't appear to be the case at all. The second most likely cause is always speed, but often speed going into a curve or some part of the track where the speed is limited, just as Pete mentioned. But here again, the reports are that it was on the straight way, that they were not approaching a curve.

And then taking a lesson from the most recent Amtrak disaster that was in 2018 near the capital of South Carolina, and in that case it was human error. The rail managers, it wasn't Amtrak's rails, as often they are not. Amtrak travels over borrowed rails all over the country. Well, at least, if you will. And in that case they had shunted the train onto another track where a stopped locomotive was there.

So, there are usually three main causes but here -- and I should add a fourth, weather. There was a tragic accident where the weather was so hot that it caused the metal rails to buckle out of alignment. But yesterday the weather in Montana at the ultimate high was 79.9 Fahrenheit and that's not enough to do that. So, many possibilities.

But on trains, just like on airplanes, there are black boxes. So the NTSB and the Amtrak investigators will know exactly what that Amtrak train was doing in terms of speed, whether there was time to apply the braking, and lots of other parameters are recorded. They'll have the answer really quickly.

WALKER: So what exactly, Mary, is happening now in terms of the investigation? You said there's a black back as well. On scene, what exactly will they be looking at?

SCHIAVO: Well, first of all, they'll go for the black box, of course, and download the information about the speed, the controls, whether there was time for braking, you know, where everyone was and what everyone was doing in terms of the locomotive crew on the train. But also they will be looking at the controls on the track. And, of course, I believe it's BSNF that has the track, that owns the track, and where that section of track was being controlled, who was controlling it, and what they were doing.

And also they're going to be looking because sadly this plays into a lot of accidents is whether there was any work going on on the track or that section of track at the time. And that will be very important as well. You know, they always look into whether systems that are available for train tracks and trains all over the country to control the trains, the speeds, et cetera, would have made any difference and that may or may not come into it. Positive train control is what it's called.

So they will be looking at a number of factors, but they will first and foremost get those black boxes, download them and look at the speed and look at any work on the track and where the workers were positioned if there was work going on.

WALKER: Got it. Appreciate you talking with us this morning. Mary Schiavo, good to see you. Thanks so much.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Shifting to politics now, this is going to be a make or break week for President Biden and his sweeping social agenda. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set off a time frame of this week to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the president's broader economic spending package. But Pelosi faces a family feud within her own party.

WALKER: She sure does. CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak joining us now. Good morning, Kevin. What are you hearing from the White House about what is really a critical make it or break it week ahead?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. White House aides say that they're keeping their heads down and pushing forward here. The hunt is still on for that elusive compromise between moderate and progressive Democrats over that massive social and environmental spending bill that really contains the entirety of President Biden's domestic agenda.

Now, there were some minor steps yesterday. The House budget committee did vote to pass the $3.5 trillion social spending bill but that was really more of a procedural step. That is not going to be the final bill that gets passed, that brings -- that gets brought to the House floor. And even that sort of underscored the tough road ahead.

One Democrat voted against it in the committee. And remember Democrats only have a three-vote margin in the House so they really can't afford to lose almost no one. So behind the scenes, White House aides, top Democratic leaders, they are still talking to each other, trying to come up with this compromise.

President Biden, I'm told, is keeping a mostly clear schedule into next week so he can step into these negotiations as needed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is putting the pressure on House Democrats. She says that there are three must pass items that will come up on the floor next week that's setting up one of the most consequential moments on the House floor in recent memory, those three items. One is that massive Build Back Better plan. [06:10:00]

The second is the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, that's a bipartisan plan, that's already been passed by the Senate. And the third is a measure that would fund the government and avoid a government shutdown by the end of this week.

Now, how that all happens it still remains to be seen. Nancy Pelosi is keeping her cards very close to the vest. Listen to what she said earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think we're in a very good place. I've always been very calm about this because it's like you -- it always happens the same way, all this bluster and this and that and who's there and who's there. But at the end of the day, we will be unified for the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIPTAK: Now we're not at the end of the day now. We're not anywhere near it. As Pelosi wrote in her letter to Democrats this week the next few days will be a time of intensity, guys.

SANCHEZ: Intensity. That's one way to put it. Kevin Liptak, reporting from the White House, thank you so much.

Let's dig deeper now with "Politico" congressional correspondent Nicholas Wu. Good morning, Nicholas. We appreciate you coming on for us. First of all, not a short list of disagreements for Democrats. And given your conversations with lawmakers this week, I'm wondering if you think they can bridge the gap and get these bills passed?

NICHOLAS WU, POLITICO CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks. I mean, publicly Democrats are very confident that they'll be able to bring everything together and that they have faith in the speaker to get everyone on the same page for these huge Biden administration agenda items. But privately, some Democrats really have been expressing concerns that Speaker Pelosi might have actually over promised and might under deliver this week as they try to muscle through this $3.5 trillion social spending plan, not to mention everything else on Democrats' agenda.

We have a key test of this tomorrow when the bipartisan infrastructure plan will come up in the House. Progressives have vowed to sink this bill if this big social spending plan is not ready to go at the same time. And so, we'll see exactly what happens and how this all shakes out tomorrow.

SANCHEZ: So, you put out a piece titled "Pelosi goes all in with domestic agenda on the line." I want to cite a line from it. You write -- quote -- "Pelosi has grown tired of waiting. So now she's doing what she does best -- forcing action in the House in the hopes that it unites her caucus' warring factions and boots Manchin and Sinema from the sidelines." And that's what you called the biggest unknown, right, the moderate factor. How can Nancy Pelosi try to sway two moderate senators who aren't really within her grasp?

WU: Well, I think what Democrats are doing here is, like we mentioned in the piece, is really forcing everyone to actually stake their positions and get everyone -- even if they're not exactly on the same page, figuring out exactly where they are, exactly what they're willing to give and exactly what they're willing to give up as they move forward with this negotiation.

What's really frustrated a lot of Democrats all along is not knowing exactly what moderates want in this package. For example, there have been complaints from Democrats that moderates will say they want a smaller package but aren't willing to say what they want to cut from it. And so, in bringing everything up this week, at least in theory, this will move everyone forward in getting all of their cards on the table.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Getting some specifics from Senator Joe Manchin when he says he wants a bipartisan bill, right, the spirit of bipartisanship, what exactly does that entail? So as we speak, the clock is ticking toward the possible government shutdown at the end of the month. It's a possibility the country could default on its debt. What are you hearing from lawmakers about how that may play out at least privately in conversation with you?

WU: I mean, Democrats have really -- are really playing their cards quite closely here. I mean, the House already passed its own legislation to avert a government shutdown and raise the debt limit, but Republicans in the Senate have mostly vowed to oppose any legislation that will raise the debt limit.

And so, what we have here is a classic Washington problem where both parties are staring at each other until one side blinks. And whether that means the Democrats will have to -- will have to split up this government funding bill and the debt ceiling bill and go it alone somehow or reach some sort of compromise with Republicans remains to be seen.

But, I mean, the main problem this week is just that there's -- everything is colliding at once on Capitol Hill. And as a result, you know, this means that we'll have an incredibly jam packed week for lawmakers.

SANCHEZ: Yes. There's also the possibility of a series of continuing resolutions as we've seen in previous instances.

I do want to ask about the broader picture going into 2022. There's a new Gallup poll out there showing the president's approval rating at 43 percent, that's actually the lowest it's been thus far in that poll. It appears that Biden's political capital is dwindling. Is there any hope the Democrats can hold on to the House and Senate if they don't get this passed?

[06:15:03] WU: That's really the big question of the hour. I mean, it's not just Gallup. I looked this morning at 5:38 the average of polls shows that almost half of Americans currently disapprove of Biden's job as president.

And so going into the midterms, Democrats really see this as a do or die moment to pass all of their big agenda items, the social spending plan, the infrastructure plan, any number of different parts of the Biden agenda. Because as a lot of Democrats see it -- and Democrats that I've talked to have put it -- they need something to run on next year. They can't go back to the voters empty handed and just show that, you know, this was just Washington politics and stalemate as usual. They want to be able to talk about things like the child tax credit, nutrition, school funding and so on. And, you know, without that this could pose real problems for them next year.

SANCHEZ: Yes. President Biden campaigned on democracy working and bipartisanship still being a real thing. We'll keep our eyes on that. Nicholas Wu, thank you so much.

WU: Thank you.

WALKER: New York state officials are bracing for health care worker shortages as vaccine mandates go into effect tomorrow. Coming up, the steps hospitals and local officials are taking to keep the health care system up and running.

SANCHEZ: Plus, new documents revealing an FBI informant was in the Capitol during the January 6th riot. The real-time information he was able to share and what that means for the cases against the insurrectionists.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:20:40]

SANCHEZ: A bit of good news this morning as the current wave of COVID- 19 cases is slowing in hot spots all across the country. Of course, we have to consider that winter is on the way and the current pace of vaccinations is now at its slowest in two and a half months. Officials are urgings the 70 million eligible Americans that are still unvaccinated to move forward and get their COVID shots.

WALKER: But in a major blow to vaccine mandates in the nation's largest school district, a federal judge has postponed tomorrow's deadline for New York City school workers to show proof of receiving at least their first dose.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALKER (voice-over): Right now, three quarters of eligible Americans have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And millions are now able to get booster shots if they took the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine at least six months ago and fall into one of these three high risk groups. DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Number one, you are 65 or older. Number two, you have a medical condition that puts you at high risk of severe illness with COVID and these conditions include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and others. And number three, you work or live in a setting where you're at increased risk of exposure to COVID.

WALKER: But as some are heading in for their third shots there are still more than 70 million Americans who haven't even gotten their first and medical experts say COVID isn't going to go away with that many people unprotected.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I want to be clear, we will not boost our way out of this pandemic.

WALKER: Right now, New York State is bracing for a potential nightmare scenario. On Tuesday morning with massive staffing shortages possible at hospitals and long-term care facilities after a Monday deadline passes for medical workers to get at least one vaccine dose.

Governor Kathy Hochul says she is prepared to declare a state of emergency which would allow New York to bring in medical workers from other states and countries to fill the gap. And New York City school system is waiting to see how a vaccine mandate will play out there.

A federal court issued an injunction Friday night against the measure which would have required all teachers to provide proof of at least one shot by Monday. The city's Department of Education says the court's ruling puts students at risk. But a teachers' union is celebrating the delay saying it gives the city's mayor and education officials time to come up with the plan to handle the expected staff vacancies the mandate would create.

DERMOT SHEA, NYPD COMMISSIONER: I'm talking to you --

WALKER: And New York City's police commissioner is pushing everyone in the NYPD to get the shot pointing out that eight members of the force are hospitalized with COVID-19, some in critical condition, and all of them unvaccinated.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALKER: And joining me now is CNN contributor Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and former city health director for Detroit. Good morning to you, doctor.

I first want to get your reaction to this. You know, this temporary injunction preventing New York City from enforcing its vaccine mandate for city school workers, namely teachers. And we know -- look, you know, most schools don't have this kind of mandate. What are your thoughts on this? I mean, are you disappointed?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, good morning, Amara. I mean, how much longer do we want to go forward with this pandemic? Look, there's good news on the horizon that the number of cases are falling, hospitalizations should follow a couple of weeks after that and deaths a couple of weeks after that. But the question that we have to ask ourselves is, how much longer do we want to stay vulnerable to what we just saw with Delta, what we saw last winter and what we saw in the summer and spring before that?

Mandates are critical. We know that so much of the holding out on vaccines has been because of misinformation, disinformation and politicization. I do think that government action to mandate vaccines, to make sure that people are safe and effective -- are safe with this safe and effective vaccine protected from the bad choices of other people is important.

And so, yes it is disappointing to hear this and it's very disappointing to hear about teachers and health care workers who may leave others at risk especially in hospitals because they're choosing not to protect themselves. At this point we have to be asking, how did we get here and why are we here and how do we move forward?

WALKER: Yes. That helps with problem solving, right, to go backs to the beginning. And, doctor, what about vaccine mandates for students?

[06:25:02]

I mean, in California, there are now two school districts, L.A. County and Oakland unified school districts, that are mandating vaccines for students 12 and up. And now that, you know, you have at least the Pfizer vaccine that is fully been approved by the FDA, should we anticipate that most school districts or should we expect to see a wave of schools starting to mandate vaccines for students?

EL-SAYED: This is an important first step. And look, here's the thing. I know when it comes to children and the choices of parents we got to be extra sensitive. But when it comes to vaccines, the government has a responsibility to protect us from things that could really, really harm us. Like making sure that we wear a seat belt when we're in a car or things that could harm other people that we may choose to do. Like where it is that we can smoke or when it is that we can drink and get into the driver's seat of a car, and vaccines are no different.

The choices that we make around getting vaccinated affect the people around us and they affect our lives tremendously. We've seen more than 650,000 people die of this virus, every single one of them got it from someone else. And so, we have a responsibility, I think, to act and when it comes to our most precious people, our kids, they spend most of their day and most of the year in their schools with other kids and so I think it is a responsibility of the government to step up and say, look, we've got to make schools a safe place. And vaccine mandates are part of doing that.

WALKER: And as we were saying, doctor, COVID-19 booster shots have been approved for certain groups. How strongly do you recommends the fully vaccinated to get this booster? Of course, it's only for those who had the Pfizer vaccine. And are you anecdotally seeing people being more hesitant or more eager to get a booster?

EL-SAYED: Well, I think part of the problem right now isn't who is getting a third dose of the vaccine it's who's not getting a first. And so, for folks who are getting their first two, from what I'm hearing, if they're eligible, per the FDA and the CDC, they're going to make that choice to get that booster, I think, about folks in my parents' age bracket, for example. They're looking forward to that and saying, look, if it gives me an added benefit then I certainly am going to do it.

The challenge here is that we have 70 million people in this country who haven't chosen to take -- haven't chosen to take the first one and those are folks who are at most risk. And so as CDC Director Walensky said, we're not going to boost our way out of this pandemic. It's going to take us being able to do the work of getting vaccines to folks who still don't have access to them and making sure that folks understand that they are safe, effective and the most important tool we have to take down this pandemic.

WALKER: Absolutely. Great points. Good to see you, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. Thanks for the conversation.

EL-SAYED: Amara, always a privilege. Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Authorities have a real-time play-by-play between a Proud Boys' informant and the FBI during the Capitol insurrection. A new report revealing riveting details about the January 6th riot. Those details after a quick break.

[06:30:00]

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: So, according to the New York Times, the FBI had an informant in that crowd that stormed the Capitol on January 6th that was a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys who was texting his FBI handler during the riot, giving a real-time glimpse into what was happening.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the informant's native suggests the Proud Boys were caught up in a mob mentality rather than a coordinated attack. And now, questions about how this will impacts the government's case against extremist group members are being raised. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Boris and Amara. This new reporting from the New York Times is the first time we're hearing about real-time communications between an informant, this time within the Proud Boys, and the FBI as the insurrection was unfolding. A play-by-play of what was going on on the ground.

Now, this is according to confidential records obtained by the New York Times and confirmed by a person familiar. And this informant tells the FBI about how they met members of the Proud Boys at the base of the Washington Monument. They marched up to the Capitol. There was some deliberation upon whether to go in or not and they decided as a group to go in together.

The timeline also very interesting here. The informant first starting to work with the FBI in July of 2020. it was in late December that this informant first informed the FBI about potential plans of a pro- Trump rally including in screengrabs of online chatter from online groups.

The informant denied that they planned to storm the U.S. Capitol and participate in violence. And that potentially giving some fuel to the defense of the Proud Boys who has argued in the past that they did not have a premeditated plan of attack to storm the Capitol. Their lawyers saying to CNN in part, "From my perspective, this tends to confirm that the Prouds Boys made a spur-of-the-moment impulse decision to enter the U.S. Capitol.

Now, the New York Times did not name their informant. Previously, there had been an informant within the Proud Boys that told CNN they had been an informant, but it is not clear if it's the same one. Back to you guys.

SANCHEZ: Sunlen Serfaty, thank you for that report.

Both political parties are seeking an advantage in 2022 with electoral trends shifting in one key part of the country. We're going to talk to a candidate who is hoping to keep his party in power. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:35:00]

SANCHEZ: As we inch closer to 2022, there's a lot politically on the line. Control of federal and state legislatures means everything with two parties deeply divided on issues like voting rights and abortion, all amid a global pandemic no less. Both sides are focused on areas of the electoral map that can swing elections, places like South Texas, an area overwhelmingly populated by Latino voters that President Biden underperformed in last Fall and helped hand Texas to Donald Trump.

There's a special election in State House District 118. That's in and around San Antonio which is almost 75 percent Latino. And that district might give us a window of what is to come next year. One of the candidates in that race, Democrat Frank Ramirez, joins us now. He's a former zoning and planning director in that area. He's one of five candidates, three Democrats, two Republicans that are vying for that seat.

[06:40:17]

Good morning, frank. We appreciate you getting up early to chat with us. Let's talk about what could be a trend here. Voters in your district delivered President Biden a 13-point victory over former President Trump in 2020, but you're in a region where Biden underperformed. He underperformed Hillary Clinton's 2016 margins and Donald Trump made significant gains in traditionally Democratic parts of South Texas specifically among Latinos. Does that concern you that Republicans are trying to build on those numbers?

FRANK RAMIREZ (D), TEXAS HOUSE CANDIDATE: It is a concern, and I'll tell you why. You know, down here in Central South Texas, we've had a history of voting democratic. As a matter of fact, in 2016, we were in the same situation as we are in now. In district 118, we're looking at a special election and the governor called it and a Republican walked away with it for the first time in the seat's history.

And so, we are in an odd time in this district's history where we're starting to see more Republicans come out to vote than Democrats. That has a lot to do with a number of things, including voter apathy where it doesn't feel like the community is being heard by their representatives or by their elected officials in some senses. And so, they tend to stay away from the political process.

And I think that Republicans are capitalizing on that and trying to bridge that gap by talking about messaging that involves, hey, you have a voice with us, we care about you. And so, my candidacy in this race is bridging that gap as well, going door to door, talking to as many residents in District 118 to get them out and to make sure that they're at the polls. So, that way, we can combat this trend where it really matters at their doors.

SANCHEZ: Frank, let's talk about some of the issues on the table. I don't need to tell you there have been a lot of controversial bills passed in Texas recently on abortion, voting rights, etcetera. the policy page of your campaign Web site, though, doesn't mention some of those. Instead, you talk about issues like infrastructure, health care access and school funding.

I'm curious about what voters have shared with you regarding those bills being passed in Austin. And given even if you win, Republicans will still hold a majority. So, how do you plan to address those?

RAMIREZ: Right. And to talk about the policy priorities that my campaign has, you know, the issues and the challenges that exist in this district and throughout a lot of Texas -- the State of Texas, is we need more robust infrastructure. I'm talking about public transportation. I'm talking about pedestrian mobility transportation that allows for people to cross the road without being hit where we are seeing a higher influx of this type of activity happen here in District 118, specifically on the south side of San Antonio, you know.

And we're bridging that gap with voters by talking to them at their doors. So, we hear from them directly what some of their concerns are. And the heartbeat bill, the permitless carry bill, the voting rights bill that recently went through the Texas Legislature are items that we're talking about out the doors. And those are huge policy priorities for me.

Ensure that we're talking to our residents and letting them know we are going to take care of you when we get to Austin whenever we have to work with our Republican legislators. We have to bridge that gap with them as well. However, you are correct. We are working under the gun in the sense that we are not going to be the majority going into this -- into this legislature. However, we need 11 seats to flip in 2022 to make that happen.

SANCHEZ: And frank, one final quick question. On the issue of voting rights, that legislation of that passed earlier this year, do you think it's going to affect your campaign at all? Do you think voters might be afraid or intimidated in voting this week?

RAMIREZ: I think that the people of San Antonio, specifically the people of District 118 are resilient. They will go out and vote and do what's necessary to ensure that we keep this seat Democratic. And I'll be working every day to ensure that that happens. If we make it into the runoff, we'll be walking and talking every single day with these residents to ensure that their vote does count and it does matter in this election to ensure that we keep or push for a democratic majority here in the Texas legislature.

SANCHEZ: All right, Frank Ramirez, the election for House District 118 happening September 28th. Frank, thanks so much for taking time for us this morning. We appreciate it.

RAMIREZ: Thank you, Boris. I appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: And tonight, be sure to watch the new CNN film "THE LOST SONS." Here's a preview.

[06:45:13]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Reese is on the lake. There's an L there in the train station and the airport. She had every means of transportation to leave Chicago within five minutes of taking the baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was premeditated on the part of this woman. In an interview with the cab driver, he said, she wanted to go to the area of 35th and Hallston which is only 15 minutes from the hospital. When she got out of that cab, she had a coat on. She got into another car and never seen again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: You can watch "THE LOST SONS" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:50:00]

WALKER: Shreveport, Louisiana is seeing an alarming uptick in crime. Homicides, violent crime all rising compared to the same time last year. CNN's Ryan Young has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sleeve port, Louisiana is in the middle of a gun violence crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hear gunshots every day. YOUNG: Gun violence incidents are up from the same time frame last year, with 168 incidents so far in 2021 and up 71 percent from 2019 according to data from the gun violence archive. The shootings are so concerning. Some first responders are asking for bulletproof vests.

BARBARA SELLERS, PRESIDENT, SHREVEPORT FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION: For each seat to be equipped with a vest, according to the fire chief last week, it would take $125,000.

YOUNG: The pain here all too real. At Peaceful Rest Baptist church, they are literally praying for peace.

DARWIN JONES, RESIDENT SHREVEPORT: I've lost two nephews since the beginning of the year, so what -- one with of the things we have to do is first have respect for human life, period.

MARY TRAMMEL, RESIDENT SHREVEPORT: You look into the eyes and see the darkness and you wonder, is there any need for them fear.

YOUNG: The most impacted by the violent crime, young Black males like Ronald Timothy Jones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, everybody at my age has a couple friends or homeboys that have you know, that we've lost to this violence in this city. I hate it. I hate it.

YOUNG: We spoke with then-police chief Ben Raymond. He couldn't point to one cause for the increase.

BEN RAYMOND, FORMER CHIEF, SHREVEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT: It's the violent crime that is well above and beyond our average. Everything else is low.

YOUNG: Raymond resigned in August ahead of a no-confidence vote by the city council driven in part by the uptick in crime.

RAYMOND: To blame me as chief of police for the violent offenders roaming our streets is ludicrous.

YOUNG: All these while facing an increase in illegal guns. The main driver of the plan is keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. So far this year, they've taken more than 400 guns off the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This crime.

YOUNG: Rodney Demery, a former homicide detective says the shooters need to know there will be consequence for their actions.

RODNEY DEMERY, FORMER SHREVEPORT HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: The reality is, if you can get away with murder or you got an 85 percent chance or 70 percent chance you're getting away for murder, then you're going to be more apt to commit it.

I'm from one of the poorest neighborhoods here in Shreveport.

YOUNG: The mayor of Shreveport, Adrian Perkins, says they are trying new tactics to stop the violence.

ADRIAN PERKINS, MAYOR, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA: What you see in front of you which is the cases we're going to be using, 4K definition cameras. You can see three blocks down the road.

YOUNG: Perkins says Shreveport hopes to start rolling out a new real- time crime center this month and hopefully start to turn the tide.

I can't miss the fact that you're a young black male. A lot of the victims and a lot of shooters look like you and me.

PERKINS: Most of these perpetrators of these crimes, most of the victims of these crimes being young Black males -- and I'm from a neighborhood where this was happening, but there's a huge difference. There were adults doing it in the '90s and '80s. These are kids doing it.

YOUNG: For Ronald Timothy Jones, he's not ready to give up on the city that he loves.

RONALD TIMOTHY JONES, JR, RESIDENT, SHREVEPORT: I grew up here. My people are from here. I have so many family members here. And I want to see everybody make it. The table is big enough for everybody to eat. You just have to share it to everybody where they play it.

YOUNG: And community members tell me they are desperate for change. They are tired of knowing someone who has died from the violence in the city. Both the police chief and the mayor believe all the technology improvements that are on the way are going to help, but they say they need more community involvement to cap this crime issue. Reporting in Shreveport, Ryan Young, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Ryan young, thank you so much.

A chaotic scene in Montana after an Amtrak train derails. We've got the latest on the investigation. Don't go anywhere.

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[06:55:00]

WALKER: Time now for this week's CNN hero. And meet Jenifer Colpas.

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JENIFER COLPAS, CNN HERO: The families that we are working with are living in extreme poverty. These areas are so remote that there is no even road to get there. The communities use candles, gasoline lamps. They were spending a lot of money and the smoke of the lamps were negatively affecting their health.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (text): Oh, good. You have the panel here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): I hope it works well. COLPAS: Our mission is to provide access to basic services.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (text): Look, it's already at eight.

COLPAS: My biggest dream for the people that I'm working with is that they wake up not just to survive, but they can take small steps to fulfill their dreams.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: To learn more, go to cnnheros.com.