Oct 15, 2008
The Houston Chronicle - The Houston Chronicle endorses Nick Lampson for Congress
In the highly contested race for House District 22, the Chronicle recommends that voters support Nick Lampson, the Democratic incumbent.
Since beating Republican write-in candidate Shelley Sekula Gibbs in the 2006 contest to replace Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader who resigned earlier that year, Lampson has worked hard to prove his value to this conservative district.
With looming national elections likely to cement his party's hold on Congress, constituents should carefully consider their community interest in choosing between Lampson and Republican Pete Olson.
Nationally, Republicans have targeted this race as one of the top chances to pick up a Democratic House seat. Lampson previously served four terms in Congress from Beaumont before being redistricted out of office. Since returning to Washington, he has cultivated bipartisan ties and taken positions against the House Democratic leadership on key measures. He supported expanded offshore drilling, voted against legislation to force a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and opposed the recent financial bailout plan.
Perhaps most significantly for the residents of the sprawling district, which extends from NASA and Clear Lake to Sugar Land, he used his influence as a majority party member to pass $42 million in earmarks for projects in District 22. Though they have a bad reputation, earmarks can be good when they are used to build drainage and transit infrastructure.
He has also worked to create a presence in the district, attending hundreds of town hall meetings to convince constituents of his sincerity.
"I believed that if I could show people that I was going to be available and accessible to them differently than what they'd ever seen before," says Lampson, "then they would honor that and respect me enough to send me back as their representative."
Equally as important, if Lampson wins he will be in a position to use his accumulated seniority to head a key House subcommittee overseeing NASA during the next session. He holds a strong commitment to increased funding for manned spacecraft development in the future.
This is clearly one election where the district's pocketbook interests should outweigh partisan considerations at the ballot box.