INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After years of service in local and federal government, Indiana’s 5th District Congresswoman Susan Brooks shares what led her down the path to the House of Representatives.
Before Susan Brooks took office in 2012, it had been decades since the last woman representing Indiana was elected to Congress. Brooks said being a congresswoman wasn’t part of the plan but when an opportunity came around, she took it.
While she represents the 5th District, to many others she represents something more: an idea that women can lead.
Outside of state government, she said there haven’t been many women representing Indiana in Washington. But a few years ago, she started her journey.
“The Republican Party called me in 2011 and said ‘we think you ought to consider running for Congress, we think your background could be very helpful,'” Brooks said.
She said her background as a private prosecutor, deputy mayor, United States prosecutor for the southern district, and federal prosecutor under President George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 prepared her for her role in Congress.
“When I ran in 2012 I actually found it to be an advantage. I thought that people, men and women in my district were ready to send a woman to Congress,” she said.
When the anthrax attacks rocked the U.S. after September 11th, she was there, helping develop the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Homeland Security.
And just last year she wrote a piece of legislation signed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Innovation Act into law in order to address pandemics like the one hitting the country now.
“So we kind of went through and realized how important it is for government to bring in public health officials and to help train first responders as to how to deal with public health emergencies,” said Brooks.
She said the work she does is of course to inspire girls and women of all ages, but to also inspire men to support those women, the way others supported her. And if that support isn’t there, women should still make the leap.
“To not wait to be asked like I waited to be asked, but to consider raising their hand,” she said.