By The Gazette Editorial Board
In his two terms in office, Congressman Dave Loebsack has been a thoughtful legislator who remembers his roots.
More so this term, Loebsack has diligently worked for his Eastern Iowa constituents in Washington, D.C. and spent plenty of face time here in the 2nd District, making sure he stays in touch with constituent needs.
We’re especially impressed with the Mount Vernon Democrat’s work on the House Armed Services Committee, and his continued advocacy for Iowa communities impacted by the 2008 floods.
He has been a dedicated civil servant since unseating longtime Republican Rep. Jim Leach in the 2006 election, especially on issues of higher education, veterans affairs and renewable energy.
That’s why we’re endorsing Loebsack in his bid to return to Washington for a third term.
But we do so with one major expectation: Watch the spending. While we’re pleased with much of Loebsack’s work, we also are concerned about his role in what has become a staggering federal debt.
Loebsack’s approval of unprecedented government spending — including his continued defense of his vote for President Barack Obama’s $819 billion stimulus package that carried many dubious spending categories — gives us pause.
Nonetheless, the sum total of Loebsack’s work has been good for Iowa.
Although we endorsed Loebsack’s Republican challenger, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, in 2008, we don’t feel she has offered a compelling enough case to unseat the incumbent this time around.
Her concern about the federal government’s inability to make better spending decisions rings true. She’s smart, has a great work ethic, and her combination of military, medical and business experience provides a valuable base from which to consider legislation.
However, the Ottumwa ophthalmologist’s second campaign hasn’t quite convinced us that she has distinguished herself from the party line via her own ideas.
In this past term, Loebsack worked relentless to help resolve issues with federal disaster assistance and close a loophole that excluded some National Guard troops from education benefits under the new GI Bill.
We did notice that Loebsack joined Iowa’s four other House members in voting against a congressional pay raise last April. That was the right thing to do, with so many Iowa and other American families were struggling to pay their bills.Now we want to see Loebsack do a better job of discerning when to say “no” to unnecessary spending that would drive us deeper into debt.