WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today(March16) honored friend and colleague, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who on Sunday will become the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Having Marcy in Congress matters for so many reasons – it matters for the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans she serves so well. It matters for the perspective she brings as the daughter of working-class parents in our industrial heartland,” said Brown. “And it matters to the little girls in Toledo, who for 35 years have looked at pictures of their representative on the local news or in the paper, and have seen not another man in a suit, but someone who looks more like them. Someone they could grow up to be.”
Read Brown’s full speech as prepared for delivery below.
I rise today to honor my colleague, and my good friend, Marcy Kaptur.
Congresswoman Kaptur has dedicated her life to serving the people of
Toledo and northern Ohio, and this Sunday, she will become the
longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. House of
On Sunday, she will have served in Congress 35 years, two months, and
15 days, breaking a record set in 1960.
Over those three and a half decades, Congresswoman Kaptur has been a
passionate, principled advocate for the Ohioans she serves.
She is the granddaughter of Polish immigrants, and comes from a
working-class, Catholic family. Her father was a trucker and an
autoworker, who became a small businessman. Her mother worked at the
Champion spark plug factory, where she helped organize the workers to
form a union.
Her story echoes that of so many of our generation – her parents
worked hard, and with the help of that union card, they earned their
way to a better life for their children. Marcy became the first in her
family to graduate from high school, and then college.
And Marcy Kaptur has never forgotten those roots, from her work for
Ohio’s Polish and Ukrainian communities to her fighting for Ohio
Unemployment reached 19 percent in Toledo in the early 1980s, when she
first ran for office. She said it was “the condition of working people
that drove me to change my life and run for office.”
She has lived up to that ideal, fighting for working families in Ohio
for every one of the nearly 13,000 days she has served in Congress.
She and I worked together in 1993, fighting against NAFTA, because we
knew it would mean job losses across Ohio.
Unfortunately, we were right. And since then, as we’ve fought bad
trade deal after bad trade deal, Marcy Kaptur has been a reliable ally
and leader in our fight for a trade policy that puts workers first.
We have also worked together to protect Ohio’s great natural resource,
We have fought for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, worked to
protect the lake from invasive Asian carp, and worked with farmers to
prevent runoff into Lake Erie – all to protect our lake and the Ohio
jobs that depend on it.
Marcy Kaptur has also gone to bat time and again for our American auto
industry. When some called the auto industry dead, we fought back.
We worked together and with autoworkers from Toledo and all across the
state and said, not on our watch.
Never bet against American workers and the American auto industry.
That scrappy, fighting spirit is one of the qualities I love most
about Ohioans – and you can find it in abundance in Marcy Kaptur.
No one fights harder for people from Toledo to Cleveland.
And you can see the love and respect that folks have for Marcy
everywhere you go. I remember going to a rally in Toledo for President
Obama. People were excited to see him of course, and I guess a few
people may have noticed I was there.
But when Marcy walked in, someone screamed “Marcy!” and man, it was
pandemonium. Everyone got to their feet like a rock star had just
taken the stage.
Because in Toledo, Marcy really is a rock star.
She is a fighter for the people of Ohio, and she’s a fighter for women
in her district and in Congress and all over the country. And it’s so
fitting that she reaches this milestone during Women’s History Month.
When she first joined the House, there were fewer than two dozen women
serving. She helped blaze a trail for so many women, and even told the
stories of the women who paved the way for her in her book, “Women of
Congress: a Twentieth Century Odyssey.”
Having Marcy in Congress matters for so many reasons – it matters for
the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans she serves so well. It matters
for the perspective she brings as the daughter of working-class
parents in our industrial heartland.
And it matters to the little girls in Toledo, who for 35 years have
looked at pictures of their representative on the local news or in the
paper, and have seen not another man in a suit, but someone who looks
more like them. Someone they could grow up to be.
Marcy, thank you for all of your service to Ohio. I hope we get to
keep working with you for another couple of decades.