Each day Rep. Elect Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) walks through his office door on Capitol Hill he will be walking into history but the present is what is foremost on his mind as he prepares to serve the people of the 10th Congressional District..
The office Schneider will occupy in suite 317 of the Cannon House Office Building was the office of then Rep. John Fitzgerald Kennedy between 1947 and 1953 when the former President was starting his career in elective office.
Earlier: Schneider Forges Relationships During Orientation
“It is cool, but most important thing is the work I was sent to do,” Schneider said. “I’m excited to get to work, to start working on the issues we talked about in the campaign.” One of those issues is the partisan gridlock which has made legislating difficult for the 112th Congress.
In the midst of his third week of a three-week orientation, Schneider is gaining confidence he and his 83 freshmen colleagues in the 113th Congress possess an attitude among both Republicans and Democrats to change that.
“The freshman are united you have to compromise to close a deal,” Schneider said. “We are all looking for ways to get things done. We have a sincere desire to get to work.”
Schneider and his classmates spent two weeks in November in Washington learning the nuts and bolts of their new jobs. They got to know each other as well as more senior members of their own party caucus. Schneider was struck by the Democrats’ diversity.
House Democrats Are a Minority Majority Group
“For the first time in history the Democrats are a minority majority caucus,” Schneider said defining the group as one less than 50 percent while males. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to hear a lot of different perspectives.”
This week the freshmen are alone attending sessions at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Boston. The environment is more casual and academic but Schneider is still observing an attitude of compromise. The senior members are in session in Washington.
“I was talking to a Republican (freshman) who said ‘I’ve seen the Grover Norquist pledge (to never vote to raise taxes) and I didn’t sign it. We need tax reform. This cannot work anymore.’” Schneider made tax reform a priority from the time he became a candidate more than 18 months ago.
When Schneider was not in Washington he was reaching out to as many people in the District he could, looking for office and starting to hire a staff. The only person officially on board is Reed Adamson, according to Schneider. Adamson was the campaign manager and will be chief of staff based in Washington.
Office Will Be in Center of District
Though no local office has been selected yet, Schneider wants it in the center of the District and as accessible as possible to people who would need services. More than 2,000 resumes have come in and he has a distinct idea of the kind of staffers he wants.
“We want people who have an understanding of the requirements but who also have the necessary empathy and desire to help people,” Schneider said.
In addition to getting ready to serve the citizen of the 10th District, Schneider has been making a lot of calls to reach out to people and going back to places where he campaigned like the Whistle Stop in Fox Lake where he served coffee to the patrons.
There have also been visits to churches in Waukegan and North Chicago as well as Veterans Day observances in Highland Park and Waukegan. He spoke at a rally to support Israel sponsored by the Jewish United Fund.