Jim Kolbe: The Value of Voting GOP for Congress This Year. (Update: GOP expected to keep the House—Politico)by Don on Nov. 05, 2012, under Uncategorized
For more than two decades, Jim Kolbe served Tucson and southeastern Arizona in Congress. Despite Tucson’s Democrat-leanings, Kolbe was elected 11 times to represent it, and southeastern Arizona, on Capitol Hill. He was a subcommittee chairman on one of the House of Representative’s most powerful committees, the Appropriations Committee.
So, if you want to know what it takes to be an effective member of the House of Representatives—someone who can get things done, someone who’s voice will be heard on Capitol Hill instead of ignored—Jim Kolbe is a good person to ask.
I asked; here is Jim Kolbe’s reply: (The emphasis is his comments below is mine).
It is important to have representatives in the majority in Congress, but unquestionably the most important attributes for a member of Congress are a clear set of values and principles to guide the Member, an understanding of how the process works, and an ability to work across party lines to accomplish things for the good of the state and community, as well as for the nation as a whole. Voters need to consider how well a candidate stacks up on all of these attributes: does the candidate share my values about the role of government and is he or she committed to fiscal discipline? How effective will the person be working in Congress, and does he/she appreciate the value of working with others in both parties to achieve legislative objectives?
If a candidate passes those fundamental tests, it is then important to consider the individual’s political party affiliation, and whether that matches the affiliation of the majority party. There is little doubt that the Republicans will control the House of Representatives in the next Congress. Consequently, a new Republican representative starts his or her term with a distinct and important advantage. The new representative is likely to get better committee assignments and more of them. He or she will have a say in the internal party caucuses that decide on the shape of legislation and whether or not it moves forward. They will get to manage legislation on the floor of the House when it is being voted on. They will participate in the conferences that iron out the differences in House and Senate versions of the legislation. Their requests for provisions in a bill, especially a spending bill, are more likely to receive favorable consideration.
None of this should be surprising to anyone who has even a basic understanding of the legislative process. Decisions are made by a majority vote, and the majority party necessarily controls the process. All else being equal, there is a distinct advantage of having a representative in Congress who is part of the party that forms the majority.
Your member of the House of Representatives is your, and your region’s, advocate in Congress. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, each looking out for the interests of their constituents. The Senate is more nationally-and-globally focused. It’s the Senate that approves ambassadors, treaties and Supreme Court justices. By contrast, the House is more locally-focused. According to the Constitution, all revenue bills originate in the House, because it’s the branch of the federal government that’s closest to the actual citizens who will pay those bills.
I think it’s safe to say that, in the House of Representatives, you want your region to have the loudest voice possible. After all, your representative has to make him/herself heard over four hundred-plus other Congressmen-and-women.
Metro Phoenix has a very loud voice in Congress. Both of Arizona’s Senators are currently from the Phoenix area; I don’t expect that to change on Tuesday. There’s also a strong contingent of GOP Congressmen from the Phoenix area. When the Phoenix area speaks in the next Congress, you can be sure that Speaker of the House John Boehner and the majority leadership will hear it. Tucson also needs a voice that can have an impact in the next Congress.
The federal government faces some monumental decisions over the next four years. Our looming entitlement burden has to be addressed. Many government programs that we’ve grown up with will need to be modified, modernized, curtailed or done away with altogether. Another round of military base closings is probably right around the corner. Metro Phoenix has a loud, coordinated Republican voice on Capitol Hill that will speak up for Luke Air Force Base. Shouldn’t Davis-Monthan have a voice that the Congressional leadership will listen to as well?
On Tuesday, give the Old Pueblo the potent, meaningful voice on Capitol Hill that it deserves. Vote for:
- Jonathan Paton (District 1)
- Martha McSally (District 2)
- Gabriela Saucedo Mercer (District 3)
Update: (9AM) Politico now joins the Washington Post, in projecting that the GOP will keep, and perhaps even extend, its House majority. (Hat tip to “Hot Air”).
In 2010, lots of GOP freshmen were elected to Congress. Freshmen (i.e., Congressmen and women who are serving their very first term in Congress) are most vulnerable when they FIRST run for re-election. If they win their first re-election, they’re much more likely to stay in Congress for a long, long time.
So…if the GOP is going to do as well in the elections as Politico thinks, it’s even MORE likely that the GOP will keep control of the House of Representatives for years into the future. Even MORE of a reason to get some Tucson-area Republicans into the House of Representatives.