Long term business know-how and experience explaining the value of the United States-Israel relationship to members of Congress are some of the tools Rep. Elect Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) says he will use to do his part ending Washington’s gridlock.
Ending the partisan tactics that have made passing legislation a challenge the past two years was a key promise Schneider made to a throng of supporters during his victory speech Tuesday. He then took time to explain how he would use his background to help.
Earlier: Schneider Beats Dold in 10th District Race
As a member of the business world for 25 years and particularly as a management consultant, Schneider stressed that he's earned a living getting people together and drawing ideas out of them that often resolved conflicts between parties.
“I've worked with a wide variety of companies, large and small, where success depends on getting everyone to sit down at the table and work together” Schneider said. “My job was to bring people together, get everyone to understand the issues we faced and work on solutions.”
That is the approach Schneider intends to bring to Washington. Not all members may be willing to try to find a solution with a freshman Democrat, but the newly minted representative elect said he will close no doors.
“I am open to sitting down with anyone,” Schneider said. One of the first people he plans to reach out to is the man he defeated for his new job, Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth). “I want to sit down with Congressman Dold.”
Immediately after his victory Tuesday, Schneider sounded two themes Dold has consistently preached during his two years in office—legislating where there is common ground and providing economic growth through small business. Helping small business will be at the top of Schneider’s agenda, he said.
“I want to introduce legislation to assist small businesses to grow and prosper into the future,” he said when asked what would be his maiden bill. “The goal is to find areas of common ground where we can work together,” he added about his philosophy of accomplishment.
This approach is not new for Schneider. He started getting firsthand experience working with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle 12 years ago as part of the New Leadership Network of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).
During that time he educated former Rep. Barron Hill (D-IN) about Middle Eastern issues to the point the Congressman was able to persuade President George W. Bush to change a position toward then Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. Hill is another person he intends to reach out to.
“Aipac is one of the few groups in Washington that consistently and successfully works with members of both parties so I personally understand how critical it is to have a bipartisan approach,” Schneider said. “It’s this same approach, bringing people together around a common cause that I hope to use towards tackling other issues.”
Schneider also demonstrated bipartisanship when he supported and donated money to now Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) during some of Kirk’s Congressional campaigns. That sparked criticism during Schneider’s primary battle to secure the Democratic nomination.
Schneider is willing to work with Kirk but gives that past support no extra weight. “I’ve said all along I will sit down with anyone (to end the gridlock).”