To the editor:
Nearly 30 years ago I was elected to the Iowa Legislature from rural parts of Jasper, Marion, Polk and Warren counties. I worked with one of the most liberal (Greg Cusack-Davenport) and one of the most conservative (Elmer Den Herder-Sioux Center) House members on my first assignment. But together we helped develop the Iowa Housing Finance Authority. During those early years it was easy to work across the aisle. After all, issues like education funding, transportation, and health care affect all Iowans and they were not partisan.
Gov. Ray, a Republican, led the fight for collective bargaining for public employees. The bill was supported and opposed by both Democrats and Republicans. I was elected lieutenant governor as a Democrat during Gov. Branstad's first term. In that period, we faced Iowa's greatest farm crisis since the Depression. While we disagreed on some core issues, Republicans and Democrats were able to collaborate and help change the economic future for Iowa.
Unfortunately, Congressman King has been leading his party in a different direction where every issue becomes partisan. He presents himself in ways that embarrass many of my Republican friends, and he constantly pays more attention to far right political pundits than to the Iowans he represents. The new 4th Congressional District deserves better. Improving rural communities, education and countless other issues require members of both parties to reach across the aisle and take action where they can agree.
Christie Vilsack has demonstrated a commitment to do just that. Her efforts have gained her the endorsement of former Republican Lieutenant Gov. Art Neu as well as other Republican and independent leaders. Iowans in the 4th District should support her and help change the partisan divide in Congress. She will make decisions based on what is good for her district rather than what will get attention in far right or far left publications.
Gig Harbor, Wash.
Bob Anderson served in the Iowa House of Representatives 1975-1983 and as lieutenant governor and president of the Senate from 1983 to 1987. He taught journalism in Fort Dodge 1968-70.