Weekend at Bernie’s might ease gridlock

Bernie Sanders

Photo by Helen Sosniecki

Then presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks to a crowd on Dec. 12, 2015 in Clinton, Iowa.

By: 
GARY SOSNIECKI

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler impresses me more every time I hear her speak, which is saying something considering that, like many of you, I considered Ike Skelton, whom Hartzler defeated in his 2010 election bid, a friend.

She’s smart. She comes down on the right side of the issues for most of us in the Fourth District. She came out the winner in a live interview with a pesky Wolf Blitzer. She’s a good speaker. And she has a sense of humor. It’s easy to see why then-principal Tom Luthy hired her out of college to teach in Lebanon years ago.

Hartzler spoke to the Lebanon Rotary Club recently and reflected on how she gets along with everyone in the House. “Well, almost everyone,” she joked. Having grown up on a farm where she hunted with her dad, she’s pro-Second Amendment. But she’s sympathetic to congressional colleagues from big cities who tell her about gunshots in their neighborhoods being a horrible fact of life.

As we drove home from that meeting, Helen mentioned how beneficial it would be for members of Congress to spend time in colleagues’ districts, especially those whose districts differ greatly from their own. A few days being escorted around a congressional district or a senator’s home state by a colleague who lives there might create more understanding, more empathy about why that congressman, or that senator, sees an issue differently.

Hearing gunshots during the night might explain why a big-city colleague supports gun control. Experiencing the thrill of deer hunting in Missouri might explain why a colleague from Missouri doesn’t.

For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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