Being an Advocate for People: Video Transcript

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (BA Political Science and Sociology, Miami, 1982) [U.S. Representative (R) for Indiana's 5th Congressional District]: I did not come from a political family. My family was in education, my father was a teacher and a football coach, my mom worked for the school, so I didn't come from a political background. But I learned that I enjoyed being an advocate, an advocate for people. And so I, at Miami, I studied political science, and then I also developed the double major of sociology because I loved learning about people, and about how groups of people interact. And so I did an internship, actually, one summer internship when I was at Miami, as a juvenile probation officer in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And that, in many ways, that internship kind of changed the course of my life. I got hooked on the fact I could have a role in the criminal justice system, and could truly help people in the criminal justice system.

After I left Miami, I went to law school at the McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. And then I went into private practice for 13 years, loved what I was doing in private practice, and developed a criminal justice expertise. And then was asked by the mayor of Indianapolis to serve as his deputy mayor. And it was my first time serving in public service. Then I was approached about running for Congress. I had never contemplated running for Congress previously, and I looked at my background, obviously started at Miami, but then all the different experiences I had had in my career, and felt that I could add to the dialogue. I'm very focused on our global economy, and how do we make America most competitive, how do we help with our education systems to give people the opportunities that all Americans deserve, and how do we keep that American dream going.

I'm actually one of the first females to hold a seat in the United States House representing Indiana in fifty years as a Republican. There had only been one Republican woman who had served in the United States House, and now I am one of two. And so I'm hopeful that women, girls and young women, and women will consider going for elected offices, whether that is on their student governments, or whether that is as a school board member when they're adults, or whether it's mayor, or city council or state representative, because I am very concerned about the number of women we have serving in the United States House and the United States Senate. We make up 53% of the population in this country, but yet we're only about about 19% of the representatives in the House.

I do think a liberal arts education allows individuals to think so broadly about how things such as the rule of law impact our world, and how does the rule of law help us in not only growing our democracy, but spreading democracy around the world. We are the petri dish in the world of democracy, and so we are the place where other governments and other countries and other places in the world are looking to us to lead and helping them stand up their democracies. And I think it's liberal arts education that help us with those skills to take those types of lessons, not only in strengthening our country but in strengthening other countries in the world.

[October 2015]