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Guest Editorial

In light of a recent opinion piece regarding my priorities as Eastern Washington's representative in Congress ("According to Newt," 9/4/14), which discusses political polarization and goes so far as to describe me as a "loyal spear-carrier," I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the work I'm doing to bring solutions to advance Eastern Washington. If there's one thing I've learned as a legislator, it is that we cannot achieve great things alone. It takes a willingness to come together, put aside our differences, and advance real solutions that make people's lives better.

I understand the growing frustration many feel with Washington, D.C., right now. I am frustrated too. I share your desire to surmount partisan politics. I share your desire to do what is good and right for the American people. And I share your desire for your lawmakers to be driven by principle, not politics. So it is with an unwavering commitment to you — to the farmers who harvest our wheat, the recent graduates looking for good-paying jobs, the moms and dads working hard to make ends meet, and the service members who defend our nation — that I put real solutions over partisan politics. We don't have to settle for the way Washington works, and we don't have to settle for paychecks that seem to buy less. What we need is to come together and grow our economy from the bottom up with more good-paying jobs to bring you greater opportunities.

I have authored numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation to make your lives better. In fact, of the 72 bills signed into law by the President last year, I was proud to have authored two of them, both of which garnered overwhelming bipartisan support. It is also an honor to co-chair numerous bipartisan congressional caucuses, including the Neuroscience Caucus, the Down Syndrome Caucus and the Military Family Caucus, the third of which I co-chair with Congressman Sanford Bishop, a Democrat from Georgia.

Just last month, Congressman Bishop traveled across the country for the second time to help me host a bipartisan Military Family Summit at Fairchild Air Force Base. The Summit enabled service members and their spouses to share their experiences, learn about initiatives helping military families and hear from military leaders. It is through bipartisan events like these that I will continue to work in Congress to address the employment and education challenges military families too often face, and it is through bipartisan efforts like these that I work to empower the men and women in Eastern Washington with new possibilities.

Ultimately, we must strive to push our country and our community toward to a higher quality of life for everyone — no matter where you start — because our nation exists to empower people, not government. We need to remember what matters most: the men and women working every day to build a better life and provide new and better opportunities for their families. ♦

McMorris Rodgers represents the 5th District of Washington state in Congress.

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