ICYMI: Our View: Renew Lease with Simpson in House

Posted on 09/26/14 in Uncategorized, No Comments

Idaho Statesman

September 26, 2014

Rep. Mike Simpson’s footprints on federal policies that positively affect Idaho are huge and numerous. That is testament to a tenacious and pragmatic, yet patient, style that knows when to take the long view.

When the Idaho Falls Republican, who is running for his 9th term as the 2nd District representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, first started visiting and evaluating the Idaho National Laboratory, its mission and future were unclear.

Simpson resisted his own party’s assessment of INL that maybe it was time to “clean it up and close it down.” He saw potential, and over the years, he worked to nurture it while fighting for funding and focus through his work on the House Appropriations Committee, his chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water, and his work with the Interior and Environment Subcommittee, which put him in a position to influence funding for the departments of Energy and Interior. Today there is a clearer INL mission and need for it – especially in the areas of nuclear energy and strides toward better cybersecurity.

Because Simpson has plugged away and been so plugged in on so many issues – immigration, the budget and deficits, stewardship of Idaho’s natural resources – this is no time for Idaho to bail out on the dividends it can reap from his seniority and horse-whispering skills to cajole colleagues to choose progress over partisanship.

We endorse Simpson for a 9th term because he is a career politician. He has paid his dues. He is more than willing to compromise. He knows the way. He has earned the respect of peers from both political parties, and we suspect he will cash in on that political capital should the House and Senate come out of the Nov. 4 elections with Republican majorities.

In such an instance, the Simpson style won’t be to step on the throats of Democrats, but rather to direct traffic toward the future through the necessary and natural path of negotiation that should ground gridlock in favor of a Congress that is meant to take flight. This is best demonstrated by Simpson’s leadership to push for the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act – which, among other things, would allow for wildfires to be treated and funded like other natural disasters. It would allow the Forest Service to spend more of its money on wildfire prevention and mitigation. Simpson has the support of the Idaho delegation and Oregon Democrats Rep. Kurt Schrader (co-sponsor) and Sen. Ron Wyden. This is Simpson working the aisle, and walking the talk, “When you’re a leader you have to find a way to get things done.”

Though we enjoyed our visit with Simpson’s opponent, former four-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Richard Stallings, we feel one of Pocatello’s favorite sons has oversold his abilities to affect change with a platform pushing federal mandates to raise the minimum wage and immigration reform in the tight window of “one or two terms” he is willing to commit to Congress.

Stallings’ courage, convictions and common sense notwithstanding, he is not the answer to the complex issues buffeting Idaho and the 2nd District these days.

Simpson is.

“Our View” is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, emaileditorial@idahostatesman.com.

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