A May 21 Wisconsin State Journal editorial:
Which members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation play well with others?
According to the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, it’s U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls.
They were the state’s only current representatives in either house of Congress to rate well for working across party lines in a serious way.
Kind ranks 15th best in the 435-member House of Representatives, while Sensenbrenner is a respectable 65th.
The main activity the researchers tracked was how often each member of Congress sponsored or co-sponsored proposed legislation with members of the other political party.
“What we are measuring in this index is not so much the quality of legislation,” former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, explains in his center’s report, “but rather the efforts of legislators to broaden the appeal of their sponsored legislation, to entertain a wider range of ideas, and to prioritize governance over posturing.”
Former U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Sherwood, who retired from Congress this year, also did well in the Lugar and Georgetown analysis. He ranked 90th out of 435 House members for collaboration across party lines.
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And we have high hopes for his successor, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, who has shown flashes of independence in recent weeks. Gallagher hasn’t been rated yet for his willingness to work on bipartisan solutions because he has only been in office five months.
But the former Marine has drawn national attention for seeking answers from his own president’s White House about what Donald Trump disclosed during meetings with Russian officials. Gallagher also has questioned Trump’s abrupt firing of James Comey, just as the FBI director was overseeing a probe into whether Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to influence the outcome of last fall’s presidential election.
Gallagher’s willingness to question the leaders of his own party suggests he won’t be afraid to cooperate across the partisan divide on workable solutions. We sure hope that’s the case.
The rest of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation rated poorly for cooperating in Congress. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, ranked 250th; Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, was 265th; Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, came in at 355, and Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, was nearly last at 426th.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, wasn’t rated because he is the House Republican leader whose job is inherently partisan, according to the researchers. Yet when the Lugar Center and Georgetown first compiled its list more than a year ago, Ryan ranked poorly at 338th.
On the Senate side, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, was slightly below average, ranking 52nd out of 100 senators, while Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, was far back at 75th.
Wisconsin deserves more leaders in Washington who can work together to solve the nation’s problems.