Today Councilwoman At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown voiced her support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren after Senate Republicans invoked a conduct rule to end her speech as she was reading aloud from a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King urging the Senate to reject Sessions’ nomination.
Councilwoman Reynolds Brown appealed directly to her colleagues, reminding them that it is okay to agree to disagree.
“…we live and work in this legislative body where all women are given an equal voice, where all of us are given a chance to voice our opposition, where we all, many times respectfully agree to disagree about how we feel about public policy matters. The United States Senate might take a page out of our book.”
Below, her full remarks to read and view:
Thank you Mr. President and good morning.
I watched as I am sure many of us tried to listen closely this week when Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced for reading Coretta Scott King’s letter at the hearings for Senator Sessions and the active debate that took place. In fact, I would encourage my colleagues to take a few minutes to read that letter, which is quite eloquent and reminds us in many ways of a time in history that we thought was far behind us, but then we are too often reminded that we are stuck in the mud when it comes to respecting those who have a difference of opinion.
The bad news of that debate is that her colleagues, Senate Republicans, actually rebuked Warren after she read the letter wrote by the Civil Rights leader many, many years ago — where even 30 years ago they were examining his record. This rare move to silence a United States Senator for simply offering her voice, offering her perspective, offering her opposition to an appointment, sparked a hashtag #LetLizSpeak social media campaign which was quite exciting to watch and participate in.
The good news is that a number of her Democratic colleagues stood up the next day and read the letter, without, I repeat WITHOUT GOP objection. Senator Sanders remarked, and I quote, “It is unconscionable and outrageous that Senator Warren was cut from the debate.”
So for me it was a woeful reminder of the severe partisanship that exists at the highest level of government in the United States Senate. Further, it was an affirmation of why I took the risky, bold, move to jump and leap and run for elected office 20 years ago; because it is still clear that if women on not at the table, we just might be on the menu.
Further the good news for me is that we live and work in this legislative body where all women are given an equal voice, where all of us are given a chance to voice our opposition, where we all, many times respectfully agree to disagree about how we feel about public policy matters. The United States Senate might take a page out of our book.
In closing, what I know, and what I have learned in my work here in City Council is that we listen to what people say, but then ultimately we watch what people do because it is in what they do that defines who they are. So we will watch to see if Attorney General Jeff Sessions uses the awesome power of his office to exercise the power in a way that is fair, and a way that is just. In the meantime, #LetLizSpeak.
Mr. President, thank you very much.