In U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and challenger Dave Magnum, 2nd Congressional District voters have the choice of two worthy candidates. We feel Ms. Baldwin deserves the nod, however, given her consistent record of supporting higher education and advocacy on behalf of students during her time in Washington.
First elected to Congress in 1998, Ms. Baldwin has been a strong proponent of increasing federal financial aid so college is affordable for more people. She has been a vocal supporter of funding for stem-cell research, recognizing the vital impact such research has both for the University of Wisconsin and economic development for the state as a whole. Furthermore, she has been highly accessible to students at UW, holding regular appearances on campus throughout the school year.
She has also pledged to restore "pay as you go" rules to federal budget decisions, warning how the deficits of today will adversely affect young people down the road.
Mr. Magnum, who ran unsuccessfully against Ms. Baldwin in 2004, is an intriguing candidate who displays a pragmatic streak on a number of issues. He disagrees with President Bush's denial of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and he has indicated Donald Rumsfeld's time as defense secretary should end in order for the situation in Iraq to improve. Mr. Magnum's moderate approach and willingness to look at issues with an open mind is a refreshing change from the bitter partisanship that plagues much of Washington.
We do offer a small caveat to our endorsement of Ms. Baldwin in that she, as one of the most liberal members of Congress, has languished near the bottom of several power rankings measuring the impact representatives have in influencing policy. Armed with a new spot on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a possible party majority in the House, we feel Ms. Baldwin is capable of improving her influence in Congress. However, she must make a more concerted effort to work with others and reach across the aisle to become a more effective congresswoman.
Her dedication to impacting the lives of students should remain unquestioned. Tammy Baldwin deserves another two years in Congress.