Channel 11 sits down with new host of NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Kristen Welker

PITTSBURGH — Kristen Welker has taken her seat in political history as the new host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

She follows in the footsteps of Chuck Todd, and the late Tim Russert, who had a unique gift of being able to “cordially confront” powerbrokers on a national and international scale.

It’s a model that Welker is now trying to emulate while making the show uniquely her own.

“I’m trying to make the interviews accessible to people. Informative, but also enjoyable. These are tough topics, but I want people to come away feeling like they really learned something,” said Welker.

That includes expanding the show to include non-politicians: scientists, community and thought leaders who are elevating the conversation, for example, Olympian Allyson Felix on the issue of Black maternal health. The 38-year-old previously opened up about having preeclampsia while she was pregnant with her daughter.

Welker’s role as host is an honor, but also a challenge, especially in these partisan times.

“It is a challenge and part of that is setting the tone, making sure conversations are constructive and respectful. I think that’s a really important part in this moment, navigating those decisions,” she said.

She brings a natural curiosity to the job having honed her skills working as a reporter in local news, including in her hometown of Philadelphia.

Getting outside of the bubble of D.C. is why she’s visiting various cities. Places that could sway next year’s elections, including here in Pennsylvania.

When it comes to next year’s Senate race between incumbent Bob Casey and GOP candidate Dave McCormick, Welker predicts PA will be ground zero for the 2024 Senate map.

“Pennsylvania is this diverse mix of exactly what our country is, and that’s why it is a purple swing state. That’s why we spend so much time trying to predict what is going to happen here,” said Welker.

Welker not only navigates the political waters but at home, she and her husband are raising their 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Margot.

“It’s a challenge balancing it all, some days I’m more successful than other days. I make her the focus, I make sure we have time, Mommy- Margot time where it’s just the two of us. That’s the time I cherish the most,” she said.

Being a working mom puts the job in perspective.

“I want to make sure I’m doing a good job, not just for the legacy and institution of MTP, an incredible honor but I want Margot to one day look at her mama and say, ‘That’s my mom and I’m really proud of her.”

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