Himes for Congress

FI-EditorialGreenwich faces a critical choice on Election Day when it votes for its congressman. As strong as both candidates are, it is U.S. Rep. Jim Himes who deserves that vote of confidence.

For the past six years, Mr. Himes, a Cos Cob resident, has been an advocate for this town and the rest of the 4th Congressional District in Washington, D.C. He has fought for needed transportation funding and been there on the most critical issues of the day, from health care to gun law reform. He should be elected to another term in office to continue his good work.

What stands out most about Mr. Himes is that, as Washington continues to sink into the morass of partisan dysfunction, he is a refreshing source of sanity. He has shown a willingness to work with Republicans and also that he will speak out against reckless behavior that has seen our economy suffer through debt limit fights and government shutdowns.

In his time in Congress, Mr. Himes has proven that he has this district’s best interests at heart with an eye on the financial services sector that drives much of Fairfield County while not forgetting about the needs of those in the district who are still struggling. That’s a difficult balancing act, but he pulls it off. And as a member of the Intelligence Committee, he has taken a sensible, measured stand on foreign policy, even when it means opposing President Barack Obama.

While Mr. Himes’ opponent, Dan Debicella, has attempted to portray him as some kind of Democratic Party hack, that is not the case. Mr. Himes has walked a centrist line in concert with his district, and while he may have voted a lot with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a boogeyman for the right wing, that speaks to the fact that Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Himes’ fellow Democrats are right on the issues.

We take Mr. Debicella completely at his word that he would be a vote against Tea Party extremism and would speak out against such destructive acts by his fellow Republicans as shutting down the government. He is a throwback to the kind of Yankee conservatism that was once the hallmark of New England. But the sad truth is that his voice will be ignored in the Republican caucus. The days of Stuart McKinney and Chris Shays in the Republican Party are over. This is a congressional era of Ted Cruz and Steve King. This is an era of radical Republican extremism bordering on outright idiocy.

A voice as sensible as Mr. Debicella’s has no chance in a caucus like that. At least Mr. Himes is among Democrats who are in Washington with the goal of actually creating legislation. He is a bipartisan voice at a time when the parties are more separated than ever, and it can be hoped that in a few years that voice will once again be in a Democratic congressional majority so some good can get done. The Congress under the Democrats from 2007 to 2011 was extremely productive. The Congress under the Republicans since then has been the least productive of all time.

We have the highest respect for Mr. Debicella, who has run a good campaign built on ideas. But the simple fact is we need fewer Republicans in Congress so our nation’s capital can function again. Jim Himes is someone committed to making government work.

There’s a lot to do in the next two years. The economy needs much further improvement. Health care can be made more efficient. Foreign threats exist. We trust Mr. Himes on these issues. He has been there for us for six years and he has earned two more.

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