Luke Messer is a Shelbyville Republican who won the election to replace Mike Pence in Congress. Messer will also be the president of the GOP freshman class on Capitol Hill. It includes two women from Indiana, Jackie Waloski and Susan Brooks. Indiana hasn’t sent a Republican woman to Congress since 1959.
At orientation last week, you could see Walorski and Brooks scurrying through the Capitol, learning the ropes. “A lot of discussion about, you know, the do’s and the don’t's,” Brooks told CBS News.
But Messer had already made a mark by starting a successful campaign for class president on the morning after the election. “We called all across the country to those that were elected in other states,” he said. “It was great to have a base of support here with Jackie Walorski and Susan Brooks here.”
It means Messer will have a seat at the table when the GOP leadership meets. “He’s a thoughtful guy who remains positive,” says State GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb, “so he’ll be a positive influence out in DC addressing all these problems that need addressed, asap.”
Plus, Messer hopes to arrange monthly get-togethers between his fellow GOP freshmen the freshmen Democrats.
There are 44 of them compared to 35 Republicans. “The voters in my district expect us to get to work right away,” says Messer. “Obviously this gives us a platform to work with others.” The Democrats will elect their freshman class president in several days. Messer says he hopes to meet with that person as soon as possible. He says that partisan division is a problem that even affects orientation. The Republicans and Democrats do it separately.
Meantime, there’s a lot to learn. Susan Brooks was asked to rank her experience on an excitement scale of 1 to 10. “Oh, it’s a 10,” she said. “It is exciting.” The freshmen take office on January third.
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