Susan Brooks finding new role in Republican party
One of Indiana's new congresswomen is being called on to help change the face of the Republican party.
Saturday, she gives a nationwide speech on how Washington should tackle the financial crisis.
It all happened in less than a month. Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN05) was sworn in for her first term on January 3rd and then on February 2nd she will deliver the Republican response to the president's weekly radio message. That is a big life change in a short amount of time.
"You quickly ask - why am I being asked to do this?" Brooks posed that question to me in an outer office of Alexandria Mayor Jack Woods. She was in Alexandria to meet with the mayor. That is also where we were able to catch up with her.
She says US House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) contacted her about the opportunity after reading a piece she had written about the budget.
"I don't know what the president will say and so this is an opportunity for the Republicans to talk about what we are focused on and I will share with you we are very focused on restoring fiscal sanity in this country," she said.
Brooks says freshman Republicans and Democrats alike realize they were sent to Washington to make it work and she says that starts with passing a budget.
Rep. Brooks actually taped the message last Thursday night in Noblesville.
"Mayor Ditslear of Noblesville was kind enough to let us use his office and so we taped it in the heart of Hamilton County," she said.
Indianapolis Star Columnist Matt Tully says Brooks came along at the right time.
"She is exactly the kind of face the Republican party wants to put there now. Conservative but moderate in some ways. Someone very reasonable who wants to change the tone in Washington," said Tully.
And Tully is quick to add that Congresswoman Brooks helps the party shore up some weaknesses.
"We saw in the last election they lost among women. They lost among minorities big and they have to address those things and this is one of many ways in the coming months where they are going to try to expand their party," he said.
Brooks allowed herself some time for reflection.
"I am not the first woman but I am honored as a woman, as a new member; as a Hoosier I am honored to be asked to give these remarks," she said.
But I couldn't help but ask her about the transition - going from living and working in Hamilton County to crafting a nationwide response to the Presidents weekly radio address.
"Did it cross your mind that my life has changed some much in one month?" Eyewitness News asked.
"It certainly has and I said I wanted to be an advocate and a new voice for Congress and so this is an incredible opportunity to be one of those voices in Congress," she said.
Susan Brooks will appear live on WTHR Weekend Sunrise Saturday morning in the 9:30 am half-hour.
The November 2012 election resulted in two women winning Indiana seats in the US House of Representatives - the first time that's ever happened in state history. Besides Brooks, who represents the fifth district, Jackie Walorski won the district two race. Both women beat Iraqi war veterans to win their seats.
Brooks, a former US attorney, became Indiana's first Republican congresswoman in 54 years after defeating Democratic state representative Scott Reske.
The 5th District is located mostly in Hamilton and Hancock counties, but includes a portion of northern Marion County.