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My Turn: Congressman proves there are patriots left

Posted: Wednesday, Mar 8th, 2017

everal weeks ago, I got to talk to Congressman Tom O’Halleran about a month after he took office. Heading into the discussion, I will admit I knew little about O’Halleran.

I knew he won the election in Congressional District 1, a district that leans Democrat. But that was really about it. He hadn’t visited Page during the election and ran against a controversial Republican, former Sheriff Paul Babeu.

When I got to talk to O’Halleran, what I found surprised me. Although a Democrat, he was hardly left-wing. In fact, he served in the Arizona Legislature as a Republican. He switched parties after he felt the current state Republicans gutted too much of the work he and others did while he was in office.

For those of you who don’t know him, O’Halleran is about as middle of the road as they come. Yes, he is a Democrat and aligns himself with the now minority party in D.C. But the beliefs that made him a moderate Republican are still there.

He refused to badmouth Pres. Trump when I gave him the opportunity and was eager to keep Navajo Generating Station open despite coal-powered plants being in the crosshairs of most Democrats.

Only time will tell how effective O’Halleran is as a member of Congress, but I can certainly say I wish there were more like him. Today more than ever we need representatives and senators who are willing to reach across the aisle and work with the other party. In O’Halleran’s view, if it’s good for America and good for Arizona, he will support it regardless of whether it’s conservative or liberal.

Throughout my life I have learned that most people who care about this country do so in good faith. Now there are certainly some exceptions, but most people simply want to make life better for Americans. The disagreement comes into play when discussing how to do it.

For the complete article see the 03-08-2017 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-08-2017 paper.

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