Idaho’s small population gives it just two representatives in the 435-member House. But its large geographic area and vast amount of federally controlled land gives Washington, D.C., an outsized influence in our state’s affairs.
That means Idaho’s two congressmen must have loud voices in Congress.
Mike Simpson certainly has developed a voice that is heard in the House over his 20 years of representing the Second District. He should be returned to Congress.
The former Idaho House speaker understood better than most how to become an effective congressman. He recognized from the beginning the advantages of working across the aisle, building more allies in Congress for Idaho. He has moved through the leadership ranks to become one of the nation’s most influential congressmen.
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In 2008, Esquire Magazine named him one of the ten best members of Congress.
Simpson’s influence has resulted in funding hikes for the Idaho National Laboratory, one of Idaho’s largest employers. He also played the primary role in preserving and protecting 276,000 acres of federal lands in central Idaho through the establishment of three new wilderness areas. There have been many other instances where his seniority, collegiality and understanding of complex issues have brought significant benefits to both his Idaho constituents and the nation as a whole.
As a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. That gives him a leading role in the funding of the departments of Energy and Interior, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. All of these agencies are vital to Idaho.
While we were impressed with Democratic challenger Aaron Swisher’s passion, it does not match the leadership and influence Mike Simpson brings to the position.
Idaho can ill afford to lose the clout Simpson has gained in Congress. We endorse Mike Simpson for re-election as Idaho’s congressman from the Second District.
Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Statesman editorial board.