For a brief time after my most recent meeting with Susan Brooks I thought to myself:
I literally can’t afford to represent the people of Indiana in Congress
A yearly income of $250,000 is not enough to sustain my family and I in Washington D.C. I have been priced out of Congress. Literally.
I had three final questions for my Congresswoman to answer yesterday. I’ll start with my second question because it address the bump in the road.
Does the Federal Government or the State provide you with a residence while in D.C.?Question 2
Mrs. Brooks responded, “No. “
A follow up question:
Do you at least get a per diem?
Her response, “No.”
I guess I should asked that question during our first meeting in AugustMy initial thought after the no’s
I am/was genuinely shocked at both those answers. I figured if a State Representative in Indiana gets a daily per diem of like $130 that surely someone that must live in Indiana to hold the office, but work in D.C. to represent some 700,000+ people would at least get lodging, or some type of per diem. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
Do you think a US Congressional Representative can survive on $250,000? Honestly, think about that.
You have to have to be a resident of Indiana but work in D.C. One mortgage/rent here. Another there. Could you afford that? I probably can’t. Who can? Well, apparently no one I know. That narrows the pool of potential candidates that we have available to represent US in our Nation’s Capitol quite a bit. I guess that explains part of the problem there and why as Mrs. Brooks stated people, like herself, get recruited into Congress.
I haven’t been recruited since High School and that was for athletics, not politics. Now, I’m trying to earn your vote for many serious reasons. General curiosity also plays a role. I wonder how someone goes about getting elected. I wonder what the job of representative actually entails.
But, a $250,000 salary should not be a deal breaker.
You would think that would be enough but what I heard from Susan Brooks that is impossible. A tiny studio in DC has an astronomical price tag. At least the one she lives in. Some representatives in Congress sleep in their office while in session. Well, that is not really going to work for me and my young family of four.
But we will figure it out
Believe it or not. That wasn’t even the most shocking part of my 5 minutes with Mrs. Brooks. After picking up my eldest daughter from preschool. She, my youngest daughter, and I made the 40 minute drive to Elwood. Mrs. Brooks would be available from 12-1:30. My daughter gets out of school at 12:30. So, I had some time to spare. But not a lot when you factor in the bathroom stop on 296th Street. I brought a potty. Then, getting the girls out of the element, into the hospital, the three of us signed in about 1:16. We just made it.
I was number 11 on the sign in sheet. There was another constituent in the holding area. She must be number 10. And number 9 was with Mrs. Brooks on the other side of the wall. I got out coloring books and crayons for my daughters and tried to get myself together to meet Mrs. Brooks for the third time. After getting the green light to approach, my daughters and I exchanged pleasantries with Mrs. Brooks. Then, I got to work.
First, could I ask you for your signatures on my petition to get on the ballot as an Independent?Me to her
No.Her to me.
I’m sure you know this but it doesn’t mean you’ll vote for me. It just means you support a person like me trying to get on the ballot and join the conversation.Me to her
No. I don’t think I should. You know I’m a member of a political party and I just think it’s best that I not sign.Ok, on to question 2
I was shocked that a person whom I have voted for at least 4 times. Maybe even 5 wouldn’t even sign a petition. Partisanship is real.
My third question was about committee assignments. I am running a campaign focusing on education, equality, and the environment so those are the committees I would want to be assigned to. She told me assignments come from party chairs. There are levels of committees like A, B, and C. A, being the most important, then B, and C. As an Independent she has no clue what or how I would get assigned to any committee. Again, really kind of shocking to a true outsider.
The entire 40 minute drive home I was kind of in a fog. It was a low point so far in my campaign.
And because my wife is ok with this latest professional hobby of mine, and I know as long as I’ve got her I don’t need anything else. My campaign continues. Truth be told Missy doesn’t get any of this and wishes I would do something else with the little free time that I do have. But, I’m in it to win it. We will figure the rest of it out once we get there. If nothing else I hope to make everyone aware of who is able to and how someone gets elected to Congress.
Even though it seems expensive for the others running.
I’m still not asking for money.
Just time to earn your vote,