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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks made pandemic preparedness one

of her key issues during eight years in office. She says the pandemic which arrived in her final year

shows what more needs to be done.

Brooks co-authored a law which passed last year to increase research funding and beef up the

national preparedness stockpile. But the arrival of an actual pandemic less than a year later exposed

some gaps the authors didn’t anticipate. Brooks says the U-S needs to manufacture more masks

and other protective gear itself — she says the supply chain was too reliant in China, leaving the

stockpile undersupplied when the COVID-19 pandemic originated there.

And while Brooks’ bill placed heavy emphasis on stockpiling vaccines and other medicine, she says

that wasn’t much help when the emergency involved not the flu but a brand-new virus.

Brooks declined to seek a fifth term this year and will leave office January 3. She says she’s proud of

her work on a package of bills to combat opioid addiction, and some institutional issues which

received less attention. Brooks served for four years on the House Ethics Committee, including two

years as chair — she says it’s unfortunate the panel had as many cases as it did, but says the panel

has strengthened protections against sexual harassment. She also points to her work on a special

committee which delivered 97 recommendations on making Congress more efficient and improving


Brooks says she hopes to serve as a mentor for future candidates, but says she doesn’t plan to run

for office again herself.

Brooks has already cleared out her office to make way for new members — she’s temporarily sharing

space with Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.

Brooks’ successor, fellow Republican Victoria Spartz, will be one of two new members of Indiana’s

delegation. Democrat Frank J. Mrvan will replace Indiana’s longest serving House member. Pete

Visclosky is retiring after 36 years serving the First District in the state’s northwest corner.