U.S. Reps. Tom Marino and Lou Barletta, Republicans in the 10th and 11th Congressional Districts, and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat, are running for re-election at a time when polls show that public approval of Congress remains persistently low.
Clearly, voters expect all incumbents to do better, if re-elected. Gridlock must give way to compromise, consensus and sharper focus on the common good. We have used our votes all too often to "send a message to Washington." It is time to act.
For that reason, The Daily Item encourages voters to return these experienced legislators to Congress in the Nov. 6 election -- in the expectation that this time they will work better with each other to do what needs to be done for their country.
Marino and Barletta campaigned as outsiders who pledged to represent conservative voices inside the Beltway. They have appeared as blocking linemen in the goal line stance against runaway spending. Message received.
Going forward, our representatives must exercise independence and judgment we know they possess to forge majorities that will blend cutbacks and reform with fairness and compassion to protect and serve the public.
There are a few promising signs.
This week, Congressman Barletta announced, despite some Republican suggestions that emergency management is not really a federal function, that the federal government will provide $15 million to protect two Bloomsburg businesses with a floodwall.
Casey has consistently fought for his constituents and authored well-intentioned legislation. In the era of political gridlock, however, Casey has been unable to guide any of his measures into law.
A healthy diversity of views strengthens consensus and compromise. In the Senate, Pennsylvania would be better served by retaining Casey than introducing Republican Tom Smith, a contrarian, who, at best, would function as an echo of Senator Pat Toomey.
America needs leaders who have the intellectual heft and cooperative outlook to move us forward in a timely, positive and thoughtful manner. Sometimes this means using powers of persuasion to show party leaders, interest groups and campaign contributors the better path.
Candidates seeking to unseat these incumbents in Congress have all run mostly laudable campaigns focused on important concerns. Their challenges were appreciated and respected.
In the matchups of experience in public service, successful private and public careers and demonstrated leadership skills, Barletta, Marino and Casey clearly possess superior potential to become the responsible voices Pennsylvanians want and America needs.