Schneider Forges Relationships During Orientation
New North Suburban Congressman finds attitude of cooperation among freshman members of Congress.
One of the first things Rep. Elect Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) noticed when he arrived in Washington Tuesday for orientation was an attitude of cooperation among both Democratic and Republican freshmen.
That spirit will make it much easier for Schneider to fulfill one of the promises he made to a crowd of cheering supporters in his Nov. 6 election night victory speech. “We’re going to end the gridlock in Washington,” he said then.
“They are all collaborative and cooperative,” Schneider said on his way to a bipartisan lunch Thursday of the fellow freshmen he has met. “I’ve have a great opportunity to meet members of my class, Democrat and Republican. They all want to put solutions ahead of partisan politics.”
Though he has met a number of Republicans and all new Democrats, Schneider is still looking for the ideal bipartisan partner to help with legislation. “Everyone has been cooperative but I haven’t had a eureka moment,” he said. “I feel very hopeful we are going to find a way to work together.”
Two years ago the attitude among first-year representatives was very different. The Republicans captured the majority from the Democrats on the strength of the intransience of the Tea Party, according to a New York Times article. Compromise was not a word uttered in their speeches.
Schneider made working with anyone and everyone to end gridlock and spur an economy into job creation part of his mantra from the start of his campaign. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) sees that as one of his strengths.
“One of the lessons from the election is that the American people are fed up with gridlock in Congress,” Schakowsky said. “Brad Schneider made it clear from day one that he will work on bipartisan solutions.”
Though the attitude of new members may be different today than it was two years ago, the major issue has not changed. As Schneider talked to his new colleagues, he said economic issues were foremost on their minds.
“Jobs and the economy,” Schneider said when asked to describe the predominant subject. “We want to enable small business to create well paying jobs.”
Though Schneider said he was pleased with the attitude of his new colleagues he was more practical than emotional when he arrived on Capitol Hill for the first time as a member elect this week. “I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” he said.
Much of Schneider’s time at orientation was devoted to the nuts and bolts of his new job. He returns to Deerfield Friday and goes back to Washington for another week of orientation Nov. 26.
“We’re learning the details,” Schneider said. “If you sweat the small stuff early you’ll be ready (for major tasks later). We’re meeting with the people who understand the administrative working of this.”