Vilsack would be welcome change in Washington (Globe Gazette editorial)

Vilsack would be welcome change in Washington (Globe Gazette editorial)

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Summary - We like her attitude that representing the people of her district should be her primary focus vs. Steve King’s decisions to stake out positions at the extremes of issues.

If you think the U.S. Congress has been ineffective to the point of embarrassment in recent years, you have a clear choice for representative in Iowa’s new U.S. House District 4.

Republican Rep. Steve King, who represents part of the area that will be District 4, is an example of the kind of extremism and unwillingness to compromise that have ground federal governance to a standstill.

The challenger, Democrat Christie Vilsack, would be a newcomer to elected office. But everything we have seen and learned about her — as we got to know her as Iowa’s first lady under the administrations of her husband, former Gov. Tom Vilsack, and now on the campaign trail — lead us to believe that she would be a refreshing voice and a welcome change in Washington.

We think that government serves a purpose and has important responsibilities, and the only way to effectively meet those responsibilities is with lawmakers who put the needs of their district and their country ahead of ideology. That’s why we are endorsing Christie Vilsack for Iowa’s District 4 of the U.S. House.

In the more than a year that she has been running for the seat, Vilsack has proven herself a thoughtful, articulate, intelligent advocate for the issues that are important to Iowans. Her background as a teacher, combined with her familiarity with politics as a partner of her husband, and her understanding of what is needed to be an effective spokeswoman for the district, have convinced us that she is the better choice for the seat.

Steve King seems like a nice fellow. Sitting down with members of the Globe Gazette Editorial Board, he has always been pleasant, engaging and confident — the kind of guy it might be fun to have a beer with and watch a football game.

We’ve been less impressed by the Steve King we see in office, and by his decisions to stake out positions at the extremes of issues. He seems to take pleasure in making remarks that cause jaws to drop and draw unflattering attention to the state.

Now that an election is near, King may claim that he is often misquoted or taken out of context, but all it takes is a search for “Steve King Iowa” on YouTube or Google to find first-hand examples of his thoughts on immigration, President Obama, torture, disaster relief, abortion, global warming, the treatment of animals, death panels and more that seem designed to position King in some widely right radio-talk-show-based faction of his party.

Vilsack is in many ways the polar opposite of that. She bases perhaps too much of her argument for election on anti-King rhetoric rather than her own positions (maybe that’s inevitable in her role as challenger), but she does have positions on issues that are important to the state, and those positions are reasonable, practical and well-thought-out.

We like her take on energy and education, and on health care. We think her ideas on apprenticeships for businesses have some interesting possibilities. She has seemed a little weak when talking about some areas of foreign policy, but that’s a common attribute for first-term representatives, and her ability to quickly grasp complex issues leads us to believe she will be able to smoothly ramp up to speed on foreign affairs as well.

Mostly we like Vilsack’s attitude — that her primary goal should be representing the people of her district rather than some rigid party philosophy. She has earned the chance to put that attitude to the test as the representative for District 4.


@The deadline to receive election letters was noon Thursday. Those on this page, selected as space allowed, are representative of the many we received. All letters appear at Comment now online.


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