WASHINGTON, D.C. — Shontel Brown won her special election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, was officially sworn into Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus two days later and voted for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the day after that.
What You Need To Know
- Rep. Shontel Brown said her first few weeks in Congress have been like drinking from a firehose
- Brown represents OH-11, which her mentor, Marcia Fudge, served for a dozen years
- After being sworn in, Brown voted for both President Biden’s infrastructure bill and social spending package
- Brown is hoping to serve on the House Agriculture Committee, like Fudge did
“I could not have scripted a better entrance or a warmer welcome,” Brown told Spectrum News in an interview on Capitol Hill last week.
Brown (D, OH-11) said her first few weeks in Congress have been like drinking from a firehose.
The former Cuyahoga County councilwoman beat former State Sen. Nina Turner in a closely-watched primary last summer and now represents the majority Black district that her mentor, Marcia Fudge, served for a dozen years.
Fudge, who is now President Joe Biden’s secretary of housing and urban development, had dinner with Brown before returning to Capitol Hill to attend her swearing-in.
“I am over the moon,” Fudge told Spectrum News on Nov. 4. "I think she is going to be a breath of fresh air that this body needs.”
Brown said she supported the infrastructure bill because it will expand broadband and help eliminate lead pipes in the 11th District. She even got to attend the White House ceremony where it was signed into law.
Brown also voted for Biden’s separate social policy and climate legislation called the Build Back Better Act, which Republicans are united in opposing.
“We need to recognize that human infrastructure is going to be the pathway to recovery, getting our economy back on track,” Brown said.
Brown campaigned as a more moderate Democrat who would do everything she could to advance Biden’s agenda.
She said she learned from Fudge that compromise is necessary in the House of Representatives.
“You can't get everything you want all in one setting,” Brown said.
The 11th District has long been drawn to heavily favor Democrats, so Brown will likely not face tough competition from Republicans.
But Turner, who is more progressive, has hinted she may challenge Brown again in next year’s primary.
Since entering office earlier this month, Brown already has cosponsored legislation to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans.
The Democrat is very deliberately picking up where Fudge left off, even down to what committees she hopes to serve on.
“I'm pretty confident that I might be able to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor, who did some tremendous work on agriculture,” Brown said. “And I'll leave it at that.”