Time to unify government, move forward

Published 1:28 pm Monday, November 13, 2006

By By Jo Bonner
By now, you no doubt know that the results from last week's elections gave control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats. For the first time in twelve years, House Republicans will be in the minority. Additionally, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate will also be changing hands.
First off, allow me to congratulate the Speaker-designate, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California. By becoming the first female Speaker of the House, Mrs. Pelosi is making history in a number of ways.
Since election night, pundits from all across the country have been debating why the election turned out the way it did. While post-election analysis is nothing new to the political process, what is really important now is to see if the members of the two parties can put past differences aside and find common ground toward solving some of the many challenges facing our nation.
Make no mistake, differences of opinion and political ideology are important in this country and, if expressed in a constructive way, can contribute as part of the spirited debate on key issues to making our republic even stronger.
In the weeks ahead, we will hear many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who have their own plans for tackling some of today's most pressing problems. Already, President Bush and the Democrat House leadership have met to discuss priorities and an agenda for the 110th Congress.
One thing we must all keep in mind is we are a nation at war and there must not be any compromise when it comes to determining who will be the ultimate victor in this battle between good and evil. While there will obviously be heated debates about how the war should be conducted, we cannot forget that we face a ruthless enemy that stands against our very way of life.
We can also expect that with the change of control in both the House and Senate, the roles of responsibility from being in the majority and minority will also be changing. Cooperation – when possible – will be of paramount importance but rest assured, the interests of the American people must always remain our number one priority.
And let me be crystal clear… when a good idea or solution to a problem is presented, whether it comes from a Democrat or a Republican, you can know with certainty that I'll support it. But when an agenda that runs counter to the views and values of the people of south Alabama is offered, I feel I am duty-bound to oppose it.
Speaking of duty, allow me to add how truly honored – and humbled – I am that the people of south Alabama have entrusted me with the opportunity to continue to be your voice in the U.S. Congress.
As I've said many times before, the people of south Alabama – all 635,000 men, women, and children – are my bosses. And while I know I can't always make every one of you happy all of the time, I promise I'll always to work my heart out to make sure you get the kind of constituent service and representation you have come to expect from this office.
One final thought… please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and opinions with me in the coming weeks and months on issues facing our district, state, and country. I will be most interested to have your views on some of the key issues we'll be debating in Congress.
Donald Rumsfeld Resigns – Bob Gates Nominated
Last Wednesday, the president announced he is nominating Dr. Robert M. Gates to be the next secretary of defense. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will continue to serve until Dr. Gates is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Secretary Rumsfeld has the distinction of being both the youngest and oldest secretary of defense. In 1975 and 1976, at the age of 43, he served as defense secretary under President Gerald Ford, and he has served as the only defense secretary in the almost six years of the Bush administration.
During the press conference, the president stated, "History will record that on Don Rumsfeld's watch, the men and women of our military overthrew two terrorist regimes, liberated some 50 million people, brought justice to the terrorist (Abu Musab al-) Zarqawi and scores of senior al Qaeda operatives, and helped stop new terrorist attacks on our people."
Secretary Rumsfeld oversaw the campaign to remove the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan, which was accomplished in only a matter of weeks. He also planned and executed Operation Iraqi Freedom, which removed Saddam Hussein from power and led to the establishment of a constitutional democracy in Iraq.
The president's nominee to succeed Secretary Rumsfeld, Bob Gates, has served as an intelligence advisor to six presidents representing both parties during his 27-year career at the CIA and National Security Council. He served as the director of central intelligence, where he led all of the United States' foreign intelligence agencies – more than 100,000 employees and a budget of $30 billion. He also served as deputy national security advisor for President George H. W. Bush during Operation Desert Storm.
Currently, Dr. Gates is president of Texas A &M University, the seventh-largest university in the nation. He is also a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel, led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.
Dr. Gates is extremely qualified, and I am confident his wealth of national security experience – combined with his record of public service – will serve him well as he helps to lead our troops and our nation in the War on Terror.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox