WASHINGTON–For eight years Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R), who represents northern Indianapolis and its northern suburbs in Washington, has tried to get Republicans and Democrats to work together. She acknowledged in her final speech on the House floor that the job is far from over.
“We still have a long way to go. Congressional approval ratings hover in the teens and 20s,” she said. “Following a very contentious election, those divisions are on full display, for better or for worse.
Brooks, who will be replaced in January by fellow Republican Victoria Spartz, who had Brooks’ endorsement, said the divide is not just political, and it has gotten deeper, along racial, religious, gender, geographic and socio-economic lines.
“These days it seems like ideas we can get behind are fewer and far between.”
Brooks has done more than talk about bringing Rs and Ds together, serving on the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress, which was formed to do just that.
“It’s easy to point out the problems we face. But, it’s the difficult and humbling work to set aside our differences, to roll up our sleeves and to focus on finding solutions. My time in Congress has taught me that it is work worth doing,” she said in her Tuesday speech.
Brooks said her proudest moments have been in finding bipartisan solutions to America and Indiana’s opioid addiction crisis. But, she said coronavirus, another medical issue, has presented one of the greatest challenges in her time. A relief bill is still being argued in both the House and Senate.
“I know we must do better in the future. When the next novel virus or biological unforeseen event occurs, Americans will expect more from this institution,” she said.
Brooks ended her speech with some positivity, saying she believes it can and will get better.
“We know some things will never be the same. Change must happen in our country to make good on our founding promise: that all people are created equal, and that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are protected. We will get through these difficult days. The pandemic will end. We will get Americans and businesses back to work and school. We will overcome the scourge of racism and prejudice. We will restore trust and confidence in our government and Congress.”