The Spirit of Solidarity
Like all Americans, I was shocked and saddened by the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday. My thoughts and prayers remain with my colleague, Representative Steve Scalise, Matt Mika, Zack Brath, and US Capitol Police Officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey and to everyone else impacted by this senseless act of violence. When it comes to events like these, there are no Republicans or Democrats; there are only Americans. As Speaker Paul Ryan said so eloquently, “We are united in our shock and anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
I share his sentiment. We can and should have disagreements on policy, but we need to be working together for the American people. It’s with a common love for our country that we gathered together at the annual Congressional Baseball Game last night to cheer for both our Democratic and Republican friends on the field. While the Democratic baseball team won 11-2, we were all indeed winners.
The Republican and Democratic teams standing in solidarity for the Pledge of Allegiance at the Congressional Baseball Game.
This spirit of bipartisanship and common purpose is what brings my colleagues, Representatives Patrick Meehan, David Joyce, and Jackie Speier and I together in our work on the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. Today we held our first Task Force roundtable on the Rape Kit Backlog and access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
We were joined by Emmy Award winning actress Mariska Hargitay and an incredible advocate, Lavinia Masters, who shared her powerful story with us. The roundtable also included Michael O'Malley, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor; Richard Bell, the Cuyahoga County Special Investigations Division Chief; Dr. Jenifer Markowitz, Past-President and Government Affairs Committee Chair at the International Association of Forensic Nurses; and Nathan James, an Analyst in Crime Policy at the Congressional Research Service. The room was packed with supportive people, and while this issue is not easy, I’m encouraged by the willingness of so many to speak candidly about sexual assault and sexual violence. Together we can and will change the culture around sexual violence in our nation.