Our past and our future
May 27th— This month I participated in events that highlight our obligations as citizens of this great country to keep faith with the past and the future.
In Fort Bragg, a moving Memorial Day service paid tribute to those who died serving in our nation’s military, reminding us that our freedom didn’t come for free. At the VA clinic in Santa Rosa, a meeting with veterans focused on the need for better transportation to get them the medical and mental health care they need and deserve. And in Arcata and Kentfield, I gave commencement speeches at Humboldt State University and College of Marin respectively, addressing three generations of Americans who embody the promise of higher education—young “Millennials” on their way to careers in science and engineering; mid-career “Generation X” students refining their skills and adapting to a changing economy; and even some “Baby Boomers” proving that learning can and should be a life-long endeavor.
At the center of our national political debate is whether we will honor the inter-generational compact that keeps our country great. We must keep faith with veterans and seniors—those who have served our country, played by the rules, and deserve our respect and support. We must also meet our obligations to the future by investing in education, research and infrastructure. This is not a choice. We can and must do both.
Yet back in Washington, progress on either front is hard to find. TheHouse GOP Majority is obsessed with generating media coverage of their Benghazi conspiracy theories to enliven their voter base heading into the mid-term elections. Meanwhile, critical needs like comprehensive immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, and addressing our country’s gun violence epidemic, are being ignored. I was pleased that the House and Senate did finally pass an important water infrastructure bill (the Water Resources Development Act) last week. But the House also passed (over my opposition) a terrible National Defense Authorization Act which, among other thhings, overrides Pentagon requests to close some military bases and eliminate obsolete weapon systems, blocks nuclear arms reduction, provides a massive slush fund for permanent overseas wars, and requires that the disgraceful Guantanamo prison stay open. Thankfully, President Obama has promised to veto this deeply flawed bill.
As frustrating, partisan, and unproductive as this Congress can be, giving up is not an option. The stakes are too high. I promise to keep working in every way I can to get Congress more focused on solving problems instead of just fighting about them. But I’ll also keep working to elect a better Congress, including supporting candidates around the country who not only share our political values but also want to get things done.
Elections matter, and this year’s election is extremely important. As the June 3rd primary draws near, I’m honored to have received all five newspaper endorsements in my race for re-election. You can read the endorsement editorials here.
Thank you for the support and encouragement that sustains the work we’ve begun together. Let’s bring home a victory next week and keep it going! Please remember to vote, and remind everyone you know to vote, on or before June 3rd!
Rep. Jared Huffman