Two and a half years ago, snowed in at a hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia, more than 50 newly elected members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – gathered in a conference room to discuss their individual goals for their time in Congress.
All of us came from different backgrounds with different experiences, and we definitely had different views on how we should govern. Still, one topic united us. Each of us, despite our unique situations and perspectives, wanted to restore civility to our political discourse. Our constituents had called for it on the campaign trail, and we were determined to make a difference.
After that meeting, I went back to my room and began drafting what we now call the “Commitment to Civility.” This guiding document that started out as a pledge between congressional classmates now has nearly 150 signatures from members all across the spectrum. It is our contract, not only with each other but with the American people. It memorializes our commitment to do better, to restore dignity and respect to the offices we hold and to follow the Golden Rule.
But our efforts didn’t stop