Tag Archives: listening session

Speaking Of Disappointments….

A reader has sent me the following information about a “listening session” that Rep. Susan Brooks, an Indiana Republican, will be holding this coming Monday.

Please get the word out. For those in Susan Brooks area of the 5th Congressional District of Indiana, she will be holding a “listening” session in the Indianapolis area on Monday August 6 at the Lawrence Readiness Training Center, 9920 E 59th Street, Lawrence, Indiana (Indianapolis East-side). She needs an earful as she has been weak on women’s issues and against women’s right to choose. She is rarely available in Indianapolis and this is an opportunity to show up and be heard. This is the closest we will ever get to a Town Hall, which she will not do.

I have known Susan Brooks since the early 1980s. For most of that time, I considered her a friend–not a close friend, but certainly someone simpatico. From what I could tell, she did a good job as U.S. Attorney and as Deputy Mayor, and she practiced criminal defense law with one of the lawyers I most admire, Rick Kammen. (Among his other virtues, Rick has represented Guantanamo detainees, and he is as decent and compassionate as he is skilled.)

Then, of course, she was elected.

The woman I had always assumed was pro-choice trumpeted her antagonism to abortion. The woman I had always considered reasonable was suddenly “all in” to the agenda of a President that she had to know was deranged. A lawyer who had defended the civil liberties of criminal defendants turned into a lawmaker willing to vote for judges opposed to the rights of women, gays and criminal defendants. The woman who attended numerous community meetings as Deputy Mayor became virtually inaccessible to constituents and unwilling to hold Town Halls at which she might be challenged, or forced to defend her increasingly indefensible positions and support for Donald Trump.

Brooks became one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, voting with the President 98.9% of the time, according to Nate Silver. (Based upon Trump’s margin of victory in the 5th district, she would have been predicted to vote with him “only” 85.9 % of the time.)

What were some of those votes? Well, she opposed a carbon tax. She signed onto a resolution supporting ICE and its current immigration tactics. She voted with her party to roll back Dodd-Frank regulations put in place to prevent bankers from engaging in the practices that triggered the 2008 recession, and for the repeal of measures to protect consumers from discriminatory markups on auto loans. She opposed limiting the ability of officials to search and read private messages collected incidentally as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

She has also been a reliable anti-choice vote, most recently voting to make abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Despite her former experience with criminal activity and gun violence, she voted to make concealed carry permits valid across state lines–a position that most law enforcement professionals view as anathema to reducing gun violence.

And of course, she voted for the execrable tax “reform” bill –  a 1.5 trillion dollar giveaway to the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class, who will have to finance the exploding debt and deficits caused by the tax measure. (Doing so will be made more difficult by the administration’s persistent, successful efforts to increase the costs of healthcare by sabotaging the Affordable Care Act –efforts that Brooks has enthusiastically supported). 

Unlike Indiana embarrassments like Todd Rokita and Jackie Walorski, Brooks is intelligent– she knows how much damage is likely to be caused by these and other measures she has supported. I can only assume that her slavish devotion to this disastrous administration is a cynical effort to foreclose a primary challenge in a district that has been gerrymandered to be reliably Republican.

Staying in office evidently trumps integrity.

Brooks’ Democratic opponent–a businesswoman named Dee Thornton whose positions are far more reflective of those of 5th District voters, according to polls I’ve seen–is an underfunded political novice. Even in a year that promises the possibility of a blue wave, the odds are against her. But if you are one of the many 5th District constituents who thought they were electing a moderate and have subsequently been disappointed, you should register that disappointment, and send Brooks a message, by voting for Dee Thornton.

Meanwhile, Monday’s meeting is a rare opportunity to voice your disapproval in person.