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Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. GABBARD. I would like to thank my colleague from Wisconsin for leading this effort and for his leadership in bringing together Members from all parts of the country that represent many diverse viewpoints.

I know, for me, one thing that I often hear every time I go home is a sense of frustration from constituents, from people within my community, who ask: Why can't Congress get anything done? What are you doing to take action for the American people? Is there hope, is there any way to fix this mess that we seem to be in?

I was talking with some of my Republican colleagues, new Members, and I found that the answer that we were giving people when they expressed their frustrations was the same. And that was, the hope that we see every day as we do our work here lies in the fact that, collectively, we recognize that we have a mandate from those in our communities to work together, to do the people's work and to remember every single day that the most important thing we share in common is that we serve at the pleasure of our constituents as Representatives, as voices for the people.

To me, that's really what this Problem Solvers Caucus is all about. It's about Democrats and Republicans coming together, finding these practical, real solutions that will allow us to make true progress in the spirit of service. As my colleagues know, I often talk about how this is what we in Hawaii call the spirit of aloha: when you can have a conversation with someone with whom you may disagree on some issues but whom you can respect, whom you can listen to sincerely and have a true conversation with to come up with the best idea and the best solution on how we can serve the people.

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to go with some of my colleagues, a bipartisan group of us new Members, to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We laid a wreath there at the tomb, as we head into Memorial Day, and we had an opportunity to reflect on the great sacrifices that have been made in the history of our country, and it personally gave me the opportunity to remember some of the sacrifices that my friends and battle buddies have made. It reminded me of what our responsibility is, which is to honor them, and it reminded me that there are no labels when you're in a foxhole, that there are no labels when you're walking on a patrol, and that, when these great heroes are out serving our country, there is no label identifying their party affiliations, their religious practices, the communities that they come from, because they understand it's about one team, one fight, serving one awesome Nation.

That's our responsibility here--to serve in that same spirit and recognize we have many problems that need to be solved now, not next month or next year or after the next election cycle, but that we have to stand up, honor them and work together to find our common ground and pursue these commonsense solutions. If we do that, then we will truly honor them, and we will embrace the trust that has been placed with us.


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