Originally published by The Providence Journal, 24 October 2016
It is good to see competition in the races for Rhode Island’s congressional seats. The election of a politician to Congress too often becomes virtually a lifetime appointment. Since incumbents enjoy enormous advantages in a time of massive government spending, we have called for term limits on members of Congress.
That said, the presence of a challenger does not mean that voters should blindly support the newcomer. Voters are wise to weigh who would best serve their interests in Washington. In the races for Rhode Island’s two seats in the U.S. House, we believe the far superior candidates are the incumbents, both Democrats — David Cicilline in the 1st Congressional District and James Langevin in the 2nd Congressional District.
Mr. Cicilline, a former lawyer and state representative who served eight years as mayor of Providence, has shown himself to be an articulate and energetic congressman, supporting investments in infrastructure, advocating for assistance for the most needy Americans and seeking greater restrictions on gun purchases and ownership. Respected by his House colleagues, he is a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. He has made efforts to reach across the aisle as a member of the No Labels coalition, which strikes to find bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.
We continue to be troubled by Mr. Cicilline’s deceiving the public about the health of Providence’s finances during his final months as mayor in 2010, when he first ran for Congress, a big reason we supported the 2012 challenge of his distinguished Republican opponent, former State Police superintendent Brendan Doherty. But one cannot dwell on that aspect of his career forever, and he brings much to the table as a congressman for Rhode Island.
Mr. Cicilline, 55, is being challenged this time by Republican Harold Russell Taub, who argues that the country needs a more business-friendly environment that will foster good-paying jobs. But Mr. Taub’s experience pales with that of Mr. Cicilline, who is positioned to do much more for the people of Rhode Island.
In the 2nd District, we enthusiastically support the reelection of Mr. Langevin.
A former Rhode Island secretary of state who was first elected to Congress in 2000, Mr. Langevin has done a good job of representing his district and addressing his constituents’ needs. In Washington’s highly polarized and partisan environment, he has also shown a critical ability to work with members of both parties to craft legislation.
Mr. Langevin has been involved in key issues during his time in Congress, including career and technical education, national security (including the construction of Virginia-class submarines that are built in Quonset Point and in Groton, Conn.,) and cybersecurity, which has emerged as a major concern for our nation. Indeed, Mr. Langevin was prodding business and other leaders to focus on cybersecurity long before many Americans had given it much thought.
The victim of a 1980 shooting accident that left him a paraplegic, Mr. Langevin, 52, has also been involved in legislation that touches on medicine and health, including legislation that provided added help to home caregivers.
Mr. Langevin is being challenged by Republican Rhue Reis and independents Salvatore Caiozzo and Jeffrey Johnson. Mr. Reis, a casino floor manager, supports term limits and efforts to reduce the federal deficit, and we are glad that he is in the race. But we see Mr. Langevin as by far the more effective representative for Rhode Island, based on his experience and proven ability to work with both parties.