Ex-Congressman Brad Schneider swings back to NU as speaker


Jeffrey Wang/The Daily Northwestern

Former Rep. Brad Schneider addresses a room of Northwestern students Tuesday night. The ex-Congressman discussed his tenure as a representative and his intentions to run again in 2016.

Emily Chin, Social Media Editor

Former Rep. Brad Schneider spoke at a College Democrats meeting Tuesday night about his time in Congress and his motivations for running again.

Schneider (McCormick ’83, Kellogg ’88) served in Congress from 2013 to 2015. The reason he ran for the House of Representatives in 2012 was to address the fiscal, economic and environmental challenges that the U.S. has in competing in the global economy, he said.

“It was the idea of trying to start tackling the challenges we face as a country so that we may not finish it, maybe we’re not going to solve all the problems, but (we will) work on them generations after that, and the next,” he said to a room of more than 40 people.

Schneider is running for Congress again to finish what he started three years ago, he said. He argued that for the U.S. to continue leading the global economy, it needs to build up the middle class. He pointed out that the growth of the U.S.’s middle class is significantly lower than that of other countries.

”It’s the idea of growing from the middle out,” he said. “We need a middle class that is confident, investing in the future.”

Other points Schneider hopes to work on if he is elected are eliminating gun violence, funding public education and creating a path to citizenship, he said.

“Four years ago I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into,” he said. “Now I know exactly what I want to do. We need to help the dreamers — the young people who came here seeking to make a better life. We need to address all the issues, but we have to do it in a way that doesn’t put us in a whole cycle.”

Schneider also emphasized the importance of engaging college students in political campaigns. He noted that when students work on campaigns, regardless of the candidate, they have the opportunity to make a difference and quickly emerge into a leadership role.

Several students who attended Schneider’s talk had worked on his campaigns in the past, and he encouraged students to be a part of his current campaign.

“I’ll come to Northwestern in the drop of a hat,” he told The Daily. “It’s a chance to talk to young people who I think are critical for the next generation. (They) have the greatest stake in the decisions being made in Congress.”

College Democrats president Robert Bourret, a SESP junior, told The Daily he reached out to Schneider because College Democrats had helped the former representative in a previous campaign, and he knew Schneider was in need of interns for his 2016 run for election.

Weinberg freshman Carlos Belardi said Schneider’s visit was a big factor that influenced his decision to come to the College Democrats meeting.

“It’s interesting to meet a Congressman on a personal level,” he said. “It’s cool to see the motivation of why he does what he does.”

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