PARTICIPANTS

Susie Brownback

Susie was one of the first people we met in Sen. Brownback‘s office, as one of his staff assistants who sometimes worked in his reception area -- one of the countless very young adults, hard at work in DC, with an unusually clear view of how democracy really works. Susie welcomed the Senators‘ visitors: heads of state, campaign donors, and anyone who walked in off the street to give the Senator a piece of their mind.

Of the hundreds of calls a Senate office receives in a given day, a good number are from people just calling to tell the Senator how they feel about a certain issue. More often than not, those callers were upset about something, an issue like immigration perhaps, and a young staffer like Susie would listen to their point of view and pass the message on to the Senator.

That was the real shocker at first -- Senators really get all those messages! It was like lifting a veil, to realize that Senators and Congressmen really do listen. It‘s just that the voices they hear are those of the people who are motivated enough to follow an issue and call them up.

We were finishing up our work with the Brownback office around mid 2003. After handling all of those callers and visitors with unflappable charm, first as staff assistant and then as office manager, Susie left Sen. Brownback‘s office about the same time - but Susie joined his family, when she married the Senator‘s cousin and left Washington DC.

These days Susie is working on getting her teaching certificate in South Texas, where her husband Jeff, who is a Navy pilot, is stationed. We feel sure her students will be unusually lucky to have the benefit of her knowledge, and especially her personal experience with how democracy works.

Susie Brownback appears in Stories 2 Mountains and Clouds, 3 You Never Know, and 4 Sam in the Snow
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