Interview with Patty Pansing Brooks, candidate for Congressional District 1

Pansing Brooks, the Democratic candidate is currently a state senator, running against Rep. Mike Flood who won the special election in April
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 4:27 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2022 at 4:29 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - 10/11′s Bayley Bischof sat down with Patty Pansing Brooks for an interview about her run for the Congressional District 1 seat. Here’s the full interview:

Bayley Bischof, 10/11 NOW: If there’s a viewer out there who doesn’t know anything about you, what would you want them to know before the election?

Patty Pansing Brooks, running for Congressional District 1: What I want people to know is that I really care about Nebraska and Nebraskans. I’m five generation in CD1. This is not about me, this is about people and making sure that we have appropriate representation that really understands what the people are needing and wanting from inflation to reproductive health care to all of the significant issues that are going on in our country right now and that sincerely affect Nebraskans, so I’m ready to be that representative.

Bayley Bischof: Why did you choose now to run for Congressional District 1?

Patty Pansing Brooks: Well, we redistricted a year ago in September, and we changed the numbers and I felt like it was a little bit more possible for a progressive candidate to run. So I decided it’s like voting, I feel like we have a sacred duty when the opportunity opens and I felt like I had a duty to to run and try to heal this political divide that’s going on in our country right now. So that’s my goal is to get into Congress and find as many people of goodwill as possible and work to heal this political divide.

Bayley Bischof: One of your main campaign slogans has been proven bipartisan leadership. What does that mean for you?

Patty Pansing Brooks: It means that I have the ability to be friends with anybody, it means that I have the ability to work with anybody and I’ve proven that for eight years in the Nebraska Legislature, and I want to take that non-partisan, multi-partisan, unicameral to Congress. We know it’s not working, we know that people are unwilling to work with the other side. No one side, no one party, no one person has all the answers and we have got to start working for all Americans and not just for the extremes in both parties.

Bayley Bischof: You just mentioned a campaign ad that makes it seem like you wouldn’t be a bipartisan leader, that says you would automatically side with Nancy Pelosi, just what would be your response to that?

Patty Pansing Brooks: My opponent has said all sorts of things that are completely untrue about me and about what’s going on in the country, and about votes. So I would just say that, you know, you have to take those advertisements with a grain of salt and I will be working to help bridge the divide, find common ground, build consensus, and to really work for the American and Nebraska people.

Bayley Bischof: Your website lists three priorities: access to health care, growing economic opportunities, and infrastructure among a couple of others. Just what difference do you think can be made in Congress on those?

Patty Pansing Brooks: My opponent has voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, he said he would have voted against the Infrastructure Act that was passed earlier this year and those are issues that help our economy grow and thrive, and making sure that our roads work and our bridges work that we have greater access to broadband, especially in the rural areas. We have got to connect to the rest of the United States, and to the markets and the people around the globe. So that’s one of the things that is very important to me is making sure that our bridges are working and safe, and that our airports are bolstered and efficient. You know, we have got to make sure that here we are in the center of the country, we’ve got to be the center of all the economy. We can do and grow and thrive, our ag producers can can be leaders in the country and the world. We’ve got to do more to make sure that we have access and connectivity to all the markets, all the people and all the businesses in this in this country and in this world.

Bayley Bischof: What about access to health care, another priority you list?

Patty Pansing Brooks: Yes, we need better access to health care. We can help inflation by lowering prescription drug costs, we can help inflation by lowering the premiums on the Affordable Care Act and health care. We can do better to allow people to make their own health care decisions and not have government mandates on reproductive health on birth control on all those things. There’s there’s so many issues right now, where the government should not be forcing mandates upon the American people.

Bayley Bischof: Are there any other key priorities that you would have should you be elected that you haven’t touched on?

Patty Pansing Brooks: Workforce development is the number one issue for businesses and for the state chambers and we have got to do a better job welcoming people to our state, making sure that we are providing access and getting the key people here that we need for our businesses and for our economy to thrive. That relates to a lot of things. That relates to the ability for people to make their own reproductive health care decisions, to be able to decide when they will or if they won’t start a family. It relies on issues about immigration, we’ve got to be better about making sure that there is a path to citizenship. My opponent does not believe in a pathway to citizenship, does not believe that the dreamers who we’ve educated and who pay taxes here are amazing citizens. He doesn’t believe that they should be part of our economy. We have to do a better job of bringing people to the state, welcoming people to the state and filling the needs of the businesses and the people that are in this work economy.

Bayley Bischof: On your website you also have your opponent Representative Mike Flood’s voting history. This is a rare opportunity for people who are voting to you know, be able to see what someone actually did with that position. What do you think his few months in the job have shown voters? What do you think about what he’s done?

Patty Pansing Brooks: I think it’s shown that it’s time for the internship to be over and it’s time to put somebody else in, that’s not going to just vote down party lines and extreme party lines. He’s voted against police issues, five out of six times - the issues that the police have been supporting. So that’s just not appropriate. He’s voted against an Amber Alert system that will warn us of an active shooter in an area so that we can stay away from it so that we don’t get in the way of the police. He’s voted against mental health professionals for police, and also teachers. Right now, I worked on the 988 number, which is a suicide hotline and brought a resolution to study that whole program. In that, as I was working with the police departments, I found that only one police department in all of Nebraska has a hired mental health professional on board to help with the numerous suicide calls and mental health calls that are going on right now in our state and across the nation. It’s quite clear that the police departments are needing help with those those mental health calls. To me it was very surprising that he would vote against the police in that regard. So I just think that that special election, while I didn’t win, I came closer than any Democratic candidate since 1964. And it showed us where we need to be, shown us what kind of of legislator my opponent will be. I think it’s pretty clear that Nebraskans need somebody who’s going to do more and not just vote down the party lines. We have got to do better, and find common ground and consensus.

Bayley Bischof: How are you feeling just a couple of weeks out from the election?

Patty Pansing Brooks: We are feeling great about it. We’re feeling so, so blessed and hopeful. It’s very interesting, because I’m getting support. I have a new group of Republicans and Independents for Patty and I’m so honored to have the trust and support of so many people. People realize that what’s happening right now is not what our democracy should be doing. We should be working across the aisle. We are not each other’s enemies; we are each other’s colleagues, neighbors, friends, family and we have to realize and recognize and work towards the understanding that we are not each other’s enemies. So I feel really fortunate and grateful that I’m getting such a broad coalition of support. Of course a lot of the people that are moving towards supporting me that are moderate Republicans are concerned about the health care issues and the mandates from the government to control our health care issues, and to force people to have birth even in the case of rape and incest. My opponent has promoted arresting doctors, has promoted no abortion for cases of rape or incest, which I think is cruel. It’s up to the family. It’s up to the the medical provider, it’s up to the pastor if they choose to bring that person in. But it is not up to the government to decide these facts and these issues and how family can best move forward. My opinion is that we have to go back to Roe which balanced the viability of the fetus with the health of the mother. So viability is considered to be about 20 to 22 weeks and if the health of the mother at 30 weeks is in complete jeopardy and she has two other little children at home, I’m gonna go with that mother every time. Those two little children at home need her back. We have to have common sense and Roe v Wade was a common sense solution to an issue. It doesn’t allow for abortion up to the day of of the birth. That’s just absolutely ridiculous. No one believes that and we have to understand and work across the aisle. I get it that some people do not support or believe in abortion. I understand that and I support their decision not to ever do it. But I also can’t walk in another person’s shoes, another person who’s saying I don’t have the the ability, the job, I don’t have the skills, I don’t have the ability to have a child right now,. We cannot make those decisions for other people. These are decisions that are made in the privacy of their own home, and through their own heart and their own decision.

Bayley Bischof: Just one last question, between the special election and today just what has your campaign done differently to work toward a different outcome?

Patty Pansing Brooks: Well, we’ve worked really hard to get to Sarpy County because Sarpy County didn’t really know that they were newly redistricted. So they didn’t come out for the election. So that’s one thing, and they were not informed by the vote by mail applications that there was an election. So we have informed people, we’re excited about it. We’ve also gotten to the other areas. You know, there are a number of really conservative areas in this district. But I’ve made sure to be there as much as possible to every event possible to let them know I will represent them as well and I will be there for them and listen and work with them. So I feel like it’s been just such a blessing to be on this journey to be able to meet so many different people to meet so many fabulous individuals that live in this district. I know no matter what that we’re going to end up, okay, in this country, because I’ve dealt with so many people who have such good faith and good heart and strong minds, and they care about the economy. They care about their families. We all do. So I have great faith in this district, in the state and in this nation.

Watch our interview with Pansing Brooks’ opponent, Rep. Mike Flood here.