Buffalo News: Two solid incumbents

Buffalo News
October 25, 2010

The political landscape has taken on even stranger hues the past couple of years and voter anger at incumbents, especially at the congressional level where numbers show 70 percent disapproval ratings, has been the rule. Hence, the “tea party” movement that has sought — and, in some primary races, achieved — the ouster of longtime incumbents.

Thus, it would seem no incumbent would be safe in the upcoming Nov. 2 general election. Yet some incumbents earn their keep. So it is with two Western New York representatives whom The News enthusiastically endorses, along with an Afghanistan veteran running for an open seat. Another, Rep. Chris Lee, R-Clarence, has had a strong first term, but is running unopposed.

28th District: Louise M. Slaughter

Louise M. Slaughter has served 12 terms in office and, as this page has said in the past, she deserves another.

As chairwoman of the powerful House Rules Committee, she is able to address the needs of Western New York and the nation. Her position allows her to influence virtually every matter that comes to the House floor for a vote.

Slaughter remains a strong voice on environmental

issues as co-chairwoman of the bicameral Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, on which she played a key role this year in delivering $475 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

She has also pushed for federal resources to combat the impending Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes. Slaughter founded and chairs the Upstate Congressional Caucus and serves as co-chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus and the bipartisan Pro-Choice Caucus.

In addition to her work on an imperfect health care reform measure, and belief that there needs to be (an imperfect) tort reform — without a cap on pain and suffering but a reduction in court cases — she remains an important voice on an issue Democrats don’t much like to discuss.

From a district-specific agenda, the former microbiologist talks about the importance of bolstering college graduates in the science and math fields that lead to jobs, and the role of universities and regional cooperation across her district to spur research and economic growth to create medical centers of excellence.

In addition to her focus on agriculture and keeping out potentially harmful antibiotics in animal feed, she has focused reciprocal trade act legislation to produce a new trade policy.

Accurately, and sadly, she compares getting anything done in Congress to docking the Queen Mary by hand, but we believe Slaughter has the better chance of moving forward the Western New York and national agenda. She merits re-election.

Her challenger, Dr. Jill Rowland, a Buffalo dentist, echoes much of the tea party movement frustration about the country’s direction, pointing back to what she deems as failures of the Obama administration. Rowland has been vociferous in her criticism of the national health care reform plan as well as the country’s indebtedness, primarily to China.

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