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View Diary: CT-04 Himes vs Shays: Round 1 and 2 (11 comments)

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  •  Regarding committee assignments: (0+ / 0-)

    The thing is that transportation in Fairfield County is horrendous, with the Metro North commuter rail system that runs along the coast to New York City and out to New Haven, crumbling over the past two decades.  All of the rolling stock are way past their retirement dates, and Shays has done nothing to help out.  And I-95 through the county is horribly clogged, becoming an education problem for southwestern towns.  Why?  Because teachers who have jobs in Stamford or Greenwich, but can't afford homes there, must commute from eastern towns, and a simple twenty mile commute can take an hour or more in each direction.

    And it's a major impediment to economic growth, because it's so hard to get around the county, or into New York from these towns, and that's slowing economic growth.  I-95 is the county's main transportation artery.  Everything goes through that road.

    Shays has consistently stated that transportation is a state responsibiilty and has nothing to do with him.  But most people are looking to Washington to help out.  So Himes' stating that he'll joint the transportation committee goes down well here.

    •  ...inside baseball. (0+ / 0-)

      It is a silly arguement that a Congressman can't get federal funding for an issue because he isn't on the right committee.  If there is a real problem and a senior member of the party can't get a solution, it isn't his committee that is the impediment.

      Congressmen don't get to pick their committees, they can make a request for an assignment from their parties leadership, you can guess how much sway an incoming freshman has in this process.

      While there may be transportation issues, being on the wrong committee isn't the root of the problem, being wrong on the issue or lacking leadership (or both) are the problem.  Pointing at his committee assignment is distracting from the real problem.

      While the area may have a great need for transportation improvement, it also has needs for education, health care, etc etc...each with their own committee in the House.  I expect a Representative to work on solving all the district and the nation's problems, not just the ones specifically related to their committee assignments.

      This space for rent

      by mp on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 05:42:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure about that (0+ / 0-)

        Of course, Shays is no freshman; he had two decades and gobs of seniority with which to gain the exact committee assignment he desired.  And Himes, were he to be elected, given his swing district vulnerability, would probably be granted his first choice by Pelosi.

        I would also beg to differ on the lack of consequence for committee assignments.  Under the Republicans, the funds assigned to each congressman from TEA-LU, the recently renewed federal transportation bill, were accorded according to seniority, but transportation committee members received the biggest share of the allocations.  Shays received only as much as a freshman congressman from the minority party.

        So I would suggest that his refusal to join transportation has had a major effect on the lack of funding and overcrowding in this part of Connecticut.

        •  There may be correlation... (0+ / 0-)

          ...but that does not indicate causation.

          Shays has put his focus elsewhere and in statements has indicated transportation isn't a big priority for his agenda.

          Again, the district, like all 435 districts have a broad range of needs, it is expected that congressmen will tend to all needs of the district regardless of their committee assignments.

          Shays made the point in the 2nd Debate that the district is overburdened by only getting 69 cents on the dollar paid in federal taxes.  21 years of seniority, he surely could have done better than a freshman on the most recent bill, but what about all the transportation bills when his party was in the majority?  He got little because it wasn't a priority for him, his committee assignment is hardly a poor choice for the district and the current times.

          But all of this is pretty far beside the point.  In elections voters matter, and voters don't care about this kind of thing - being part of the this committee or that committee...only a small part of the population has any concept of how Congress functions and what the committees do.  The key isn't which committee he is on, or which committee you would want to be on if elected and if you got your choice - the key is that Shays did not find this issue to be a priority for the district, which differs from the view of the people in the district.  That is the piece to highlight, there is a problem, he isn't concerned about fixing it.  69c/$1 with 21 years of seniority.

          Also the evaluation of the district as a swing district is speculative and not likely good speculation at that.  The district went for Gore, Kerry and Clinton both times and is looking like it will go big for Obama, Shays took the seat in a special election back in 1987 when the Democratic Brand was weak in the region (S&L, Contra, Reagan, Defense Contractors suffering federal budget slashes, etc).  Once a Dem takes this seat, it will likely be strong D until the next major shift occurs.  With 20-25 incoming Freshman Dems, and very few vacating Dems, expecting any of them to get first choice at a committee assignment is silly.  There has to be an open seat for them to fill to start, and then there has to be no one with a prior request to move in that direction that leadership chooses to honor.

          Personally, I'm hoping the leadership changes in the next Congress (in both Houses).  More Backbone, more Progressive.

          This space for rent

          by mp on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:59:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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