Indiana Rep. Brooks urges more women in politics

FILE - This May 6, 2014 file photo shows Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., leaving after casting her vote in Carmel, Ind. Active in encouraging more women to get involved in politics, Brooks doesn’t think female voters would automatically support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Indiana congresswoman active in efforts to get more women involved in politics doesn’t think female voters would automatically rally around Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.

Republican Rep. Susan Brooks also said it’s unfortunate that the United States hasn’t had a female president while many other countries have been led by women, and that she would like to see female candidates on both major parties’ national tickets.

“I think females are just looking for the candidate, whether female or male, who will put forth the best ideas for leading the country and for the next generation,” Brooks said in an interview ahead of an appearance Monday in southwest Ohio. “I don’t think female voters will necessarily vote for a female candidate just because they’re a female.”

She said while Clinton —who hasn’t said yet whether she will seek the Democratic nomination for 2016 — has significant name recognition, it remains to be seen “how people will view her track record.”

Brooks rejects suggestions that the special House panel she’s on investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador in Libya while Clinton was secretary of state is aimed at undermining her potential candidacy. She said the select committee will “delve into the questions that remain” about events surrounding the attacks, but also wants to make sure the State Department addresses issues that have been “ongoing for decades” and improved security for its personnel around the world.

Brooks and Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski became the first women in Indiana’s congressional delegation in half a century with their 2012 election victories. The former U.S. attorney said she thinks there is “a confidence gap” for women over deciding to run, saying she was asked to run.

Women make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population but currently hold about 18 percent of the seats in Congress.

Brooks has been participating in events in other states about the need for more women to increase political involvement, and plans to encourage female students to consider political careers when she speaks Monday evening at Miami University, her alma mater in southwest Ohio.

“We need more women willing to run for office at all levels,” Brooks said. “We need to bring more women into the pipeline for leadership.”

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