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Sen.-elect Scott Brown embarked on a "thank you" tour of Massachusetts this weekend, greeting supporters across the state. At each location, Brown was swamped by hundreds of people wanting a photograph, an autograph or merely a glimpse of his trusty — and now famous — truck.
We caught up with the new Republican senator in Worcester (in his pickup) to discuss his goals. Brown promised again to maintain independence from his party.
"I think it's important to have dialogue with both parties," Brown said. "We do it in Massachusetts in the State House. There needs to be dialogue and transparency and conversation because the American people are fed up. They're tired of the bickering. They're tired of not solving problems."
Brown cited President Obama's appearance Friday at a Republican retreat in Baltimore as a "great first step" in cultivating dialogue. "I encourage that," Brown said. "And I hope I can certainly be part of that in the future."
"All I know is that I am now the senator for everybody," Brown said. "I'm looking forward to having an open door, an open dialogue to policy to try to solve problems as they come along."
"All I know is that I am now the senator for everybody. I'm looking forward to having an open door, an open dialogue to policy to try to solve problems as they come along."
-- Sen.-elect Scott Brown
Brown's pledged bipartisanship may put him at odds with other members of his party, largely united in opposition to the Democratic agenda.
Brown advocates instead for a big-tent approach. He said Republicans and Democrats both need to bend to resolve policy issues.
But Brown takes issue with the "party of no" moniker assigned to his colleagues by President Obama.
"Let's not make any mistake about it, I'm a fiscal conservative," Brown said. "And if the 'party of no' means that we're not going to raise taxes and we're not going to increase spending, then I will be part of that."
For Brown, job growth should be the top priority for Congress. He said Mr. Obama's proposed tax credit for businesses that hire new workers is a start. But he is concerned with the president's spending habits.
"I'm supportive of any type of tax credit that will create jobs," Brown said. "But I would hope they would be bolder and stop this spending this year versus next year and then also look at a more broad-based cut for corporations and families."
While still awaiting confirmation — or, a "business card and an office," as he put it — Brown took the weekend to thank supporters across Massachusetts. Brown said that he has been "humbled" by the reception he has received.
"I just think it's important to go out and thank people who worked so hard," Brown said. "We had a tremendous amount of support throughout the state, and it's evident by the amount of people who have come out."
Despite the local and national attention, Brown stuck to the populist message that carried him to a sensational Jan. 19 victory.
"I was a little guy and I still am a little guy," Brown said. "I walk down the street and still pick up a penny if I see it. I try to do some self-reflection a lot and figure out who I am and what makes me tick, and I just like to do good things."
Click "Listen Now" to hear the full interview with Sen.-elect Scott Brown.
This program aired on February 1, 2010.
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