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In his Oct. 23 opinion piece “Why I Rescinded My DeMaio Endorsement – Then Gave It Back,” Olin Hyde makes the case for an end to partisan bickering in Congress, and claims that to do so, San Diegans should elect Carl DeMaio in 2014 to replace incumbent Rep. Scott Peters.
While I agree with Hyde that partisanship in Washington has led to many of the problems we’ve seen coming out of Congress in recent years, I have an entirely different view of who is best suited to cut through the partisan gridlock, and believe that Peters has demonstrated a strong commitment to doing so during his first year in Congress.
Peters has made breaking partisan gridlock in Washington the cornerstone of his first year in office. When Peters ran for election last year, narrowly defeating incumbent Brian Bilbray, he ran in support of “No Budget, No Pay,” the idea that if Congress couldn’t pass a budget, they shouldn’t get paid.
He followed through on this campaign commitment when he supported that legislation early in his first term, and was highly critical of the Democrat-controlled Senate, forcing them to pass their first budget in four years.
Shortly after being sworn into office, Peters joined the group No Labels, a bipartisan group of legislators committed to ending gridlock in Washington with a mentality of fixing rather than fighting. He also joined the United Solutions Caucus, a group of freshman members of Congress from both sides of the aisle committed to bipartisan solutions to long-term debt.
By supporting these causes, Peters has shown a genuine commitment to working collaboratively with his colleagues, implementing much-needed reforms to the way Congress operates, and being a voice of reason in an otherwise divisive and partisan establishment.
In his piece, Hyde labels Peters a “Democratic insider.” I would argue the opposite, and I have the facts on my side. Peters has voted against his party on a number of issues, and was recently named the fourth most independent Democrat in the House.
As a former chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, I have seen first-hand Peters working in cooperative way with his colleagues. There are far too many politicians in Washington who have an uncompromising approach, who use their status to blame and demonize those on the other side of the aisle. Congress needs less fighting and more adult conversations about how to fix complex problems through pragmatic, bipartisan collaboration.
I ask that Hyde take an honest look at Peters’ record and re-evaluate who he believes represents a bipartisan approach in Congress. Peters has spent his entire time in Congress speaking out against partisan bickering, building diverse coalitions and working to find solutions to congressional gridlock.
Congress needs more moderates and fewer extremists, and San Diego needs a pragmatic problem-solver representing them. Peters should continue to represent San Diego in Washington.
Mel Katz is co-owner of Manpower and a former chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Katz’s commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.