Hall, Art -- Use this one

Publisher Art Hall

As opposed to being able to discuss various issues on their merit, we dismiss reasoned thinking, without a fair hearing, because it is a position held by “that other party.” For our system of government to work, the basis of consideration of an argument needs to be its merit, uninfluenced by “the party’s position” on that issue.

When party loyalty is carried to the extremes we are seeing today, it is not uncommon to see an issue decided 100% along party lines. This sometimes becomes so extreme that our elected representatives don't even have an opportunity to know what they are voting on, much less having an opportunity to be involved in pulling the ideas together which form a given piece of legislation.

In light of this, it is encouraging that our newly elected congressman, Jeff Van Drew, has joined the Blue Dog Coalition of 27 Democratic congressmen and congresswomen, who identify themselves as independent of the leadership of both parties. This, to some degree, frees them to take a common-sense approach to reasoning their way through various issues.

This group is comprised of a broad spectrum of individuals from around the nation, and of various ethnic groups, and is now led by a woman of color. If all of Congress were free of party loyalties, it is not hard to imagine that we would be able to address our border problem, and our run-away deficit spending, to name but two.

Because Jeff Van Drew is a seasoned political, and because he is well familiar with the political leanings of his congressional district, I’m not surprised that he joined the Blue Dogs.

As you consider these thoughts, you might reply, is the Blue Dog Coalition, in a minor way, like a political party, which George Washington spoke against? Yes, however, such factions within parties are probably a necessary first step in order to restore Congress to a fully functioning third branch of government.

As for myself, I have dealt with Jeff over a number of years, and have found him to be thoughtful and fair in his consideration of various issues.  Is he the best person to help Cape May County move forward on major issues where strong representation in Congress is essential, such as the replacement of our aged and limited infrastructure? Time will tell.