Himes for Congress

Voters will be faced with many choices on the ballot Nov. 6, and we hope that one of them will be to return U.S. Rep. Jim Himes to a third term representing the 4th District.

Since being elected in 2008, Mr. Himes has been just the voice this district has needed. He has brought a compassionate perspective to key issues like bringing health coverage to Americans and on the social issues of the day while still keeping an eye on the bottom line. He is a man of character and integrity and has represented us well.

But before we delve deeply into the reasons we are supporting Mr. Himes, we want to say a few words about his Republican opponent, Steve Obsitnik. It has been a pleasure covering him on the campaign trail. The Post has found him to be an engaging and open candidate who has largely kept his campaign free of the negativity that has infected other key races on the ballot. His ideas on economic improvement have merit and deserve more consideration. But Mr. Himes remains the best choice for this district, with an excellent record over his first four years in office.

Mr. Himes has been a moderate Democrat in a district that is the very example of moderate. In fact, we would love him to move to the left on certain issues, but no one can say he does not represent the character of the 4th District. On issues like a budget deal based around the framework of the Simpson-Bowles Commission he has been leading the charge, and on the Financial Services Committee he has been a leader when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

We cannot say that we are with Mr. Himes all the way when it comes to the merits of Simpson-Bowles. While it’s clear that something must be done to close the deficit and bring about real tax reform in our country, we are less convinced that there needs to be the kind of immediate action on entitlement reform that Mr. Himes, as well as President Obama and others, seems to feel there is. It has become conventional wisdom in Washington that a “grand bargain” must be struck to save these programs, but Simpson-Bowles puts far too heavy a burden on reforms to Social Security and Medicare and doesn’t do enough to address the growing inequality in this country that has seen the rich get richer while the middle class and the poor are left holding the bag.

To his credit, Mr. Himes recognizes that Simpson-Bowles has deficiencies and says he is open to bipartisan negotiation on the package to make improvements. That’s an example of the kind of mature, reasoned approach he has brought to his two terms in office, and we hope to see that in a third term. There’s a better deal out there to be had through true bipartisan legislative work, and we want to see Mr. Himes in Washington fighting for it.

Mr. Himes has also shown he has the experience and temperament to work on the critical foreign policy issues that will face us in the immediate and long-term future. With uncertainty in Syria, tragedy in Libya and the ever-present threat of a nuclear Iran, this is not a time for saber rattling and tough talk full of empty words. We need cool heads that will make decisions based on the best interests of our country and not be pushed into any decisions, no matter which party is in the White House.

On Afghanistan, Mr. Himes has been a leader throughout his time in office. He was among the first lawmakers to call for a quicker timetable for withdrawal than President Obama was willing to put forth. He recognized before many others the futility of this mission that is costing us billions and, more importantly, precious American lives. We only wish President Obama had taken Mr. Himes’ advice instead of embracing a needless surge that has finally ended.

Beyond these issues of national relevance, Mr. Himes has been responsive to the needs of his constituents in the 4th District. You will see him at the big Greenwich events and residents know they can count on him. During last year’s hurricane, Mr. Himes was there to respond to the needs of a devastated district, helping individuals and businesses with the powers of his office. He has been there for us, so let’s be there for him again on Nov. 6.

Send Jim Himes back to Congress for a third term. He has clearly earned it.

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