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Former Sen. Edward Brooke Receives Congressional Honor

Former Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke (R), the first African-American Senator elected by popular vote, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal today in the Capitol Rotunda for the causes that he championed in civil and voting rights laws. Honoring Brooke was President Barack Obama, along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who offered remarks highlighting Brooke’s formidable legislative record.Obama pointed out the hurdles that Brooke encountered as an African-American, having grown up in Washington, D.C., during a time where he couldn’t walk through parts of his neighborhood without carrying a letter of permission as well as serving in a war fighting for democracy while facing discrimination stateside. Brooke overcame all the “naysayers— and roadblocks before him to forge out his own place in history, Obama said.Brooke later took the stage with a comical icebreaker: “I want the record to show that I have turned on the sun for you. Politicians sometimes take the credit for things they had absolutely nothing to do with.—Brook then transitioned into a more serious topic — politics — where he addressed Members of Congress directly. Politics is not evil and is good if used properly, Brooke said. He called for a type of politics that actually places politics on the back burner: “We must lead by example and not by force. We can’t keep fighting wars when we’ve got hungry people to feed … and young people to be educated.—He petitioned both parties to work together for the good of the people and concluded his acceptance speech by saying, “God of justice, save the people from the war of race and creed, from the strife of class and faction. Make our nation free indeed.—

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