Congressman Brady Interview Debrief
May 16, 2018
In Spring 2018, the University of Pennsylvania chapter successfully advocated for SNAP funding as well as U.S. strategy in the Middle East. On a Capitol Hill event on April 12th, the staff members met with staffers from the Offices of Senator Udall, Casey, Johnson, and Kaine and conducted one-on-one interviews with Senator Reed and Congressman Brady. Summary of our interview with Congressman Brady is provided below:
Congressman Brady truly believes in public service. He decided to run to for congress “just to help people”. He believes that that his office is the people’s office because it is funded by taxpayers. A commitment to constituents is what wakes him up and keeps him up at night. As he retires after his term ends later this year, Congressman Brady is proud to have had the opportunity to serve and connect with so many constituents.
One of his greatest achievements was him bringing jobs back to Philadelphia. To illustrate this point, the Congressman told a story of a lady coming up to him in tears thanking him that he had saved her husband’s job and changed their lives. Congressman Brady explains that his blue collar background compels him to have a deep respect for people who do manual labor everyday. Consequently, he supports unions and believes that not all people need to go to college to succeed in life.
Congressman Brady also emphasized that there has been major changes in Congress these past 20 years. 20 years ago, compromise between Republic and Democrats were more frequent and commonplace than today. However, today he sees more deadlock than compromises than the past. Congressman described restoring bipartisanship and a sense of decency in the House of Representatives as some of the most difficult yet poignant challenges for our generation.
Congressman Brady lastly offered his reflection on the impact of lobbying groups in Congress. One example was the NRA, which blocked legislation that would have banned bump stocks and increased the rigor of background checks. Congressman Brady was furious as he believed that not many Americans would support policies for which the NRA advocates. He was also pleased to see a galvanization of the youth on gun issues (disclaimer: please note that PPC is a nonpartisan organization and that we neither support or disagree with Congressman's opinion on this controversial topic).
Before closing the interview, PPC gave a short, prepared pitch on the importance of SNAP to Philadelphia. Congressman Brady wholeheartedly agreed and highlighted the importance of SNAP in helping feeding poor Americans across the nation. He expressed how essential SNAP is to many Americans, especially those in his district, who are forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on healthcare, leaving them almost no money to spend on food.