Susan Brooks on the Power of a Question

Congresswoman Susan Brooks of Indiana’s journey all started with a question:

“Would you ever consider running for office?”

That question planted an idea, which turned into a plan. And the plan eventually–with support and encouragement along the way– landed her in the People’s House where she currently serves Central Indiana Hoosiers.

Congresswoman Susan Brooks

Throughout Women’s History Month, House Republicans are celebrating the many accomplishments of women across America, many of which are thanks to courage and the confidence to step up and be risk takers.

Today, Brooks is encouraging others–especially women–to consider running for elected office. In her latest op-ed published in The Hill, she discusses the importance of having women at the table — especially at a time where an agenda for a more confident America is being built:

“Even though there are a record number of women in Congress, we’re still just 20 percent of the total. In fact, many of us made history just by running.

“We’re not alone in that. From Congress to state legislatures to governor’s and mayor’s offices, women represent about one in five elected officials. That figure has remained relatively consistent since the 1990s. We’ve plateaued.

“We need more women at all levels of government — but not just for parity’s sake. I believe Congress, and the country, work best when all voices are represented. Women have concerns that are distinct from men’s, and we have different ways of approaching problems. The more different voices we can engage in the national conversation, the better the outcome is going to be. While I don’t believe that a discussion about more diversity in our elected officials should be limited to gender, this Women’s History Month, I want to focus on women specifically.

“Why are women underrepresented? It is not because women are less qualified than men. As it always is in politics, part of the answer is money and the things that money buys, specifically training and organizational support to run an effective campaign. According to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers, out of many thousands of political action committees, only 70 give predominantly to women. Moreover, women donors give less than their male counterparts, even at the highest levels.

“Part of the answer, though, is women. As I said above: often, we’re just less likely to consider office. Before I was approached to run for office, even though I’d been a presidentially appointed United States attorney and served as deputy mayor of Indianapolis, I’d never seriously considered running for office. Additionally, once I was asked — by young men in the Republican Party — I still had a lot of questions, and even doubts, that I grappled with.”

That gap won’t change on its own. We need to make the change, and it cannot take another 100 years to do it. This Women’s History Month, I not only want to directly encourage more women to run for office, I want to encourage more Americans to ASK the women they know — the mother who volunteers at every school function, the small business owner who is growing her company, the bright young women in your college classroom — “Hey, would you ever consider it?’

Click here to read the full op-ed.

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