Because of the new electoral map for the House of Representatives, Democratic Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman must compete to represent the new District 30. Each has his own characteristics and virtues, but when it comes time to decide, Rep. Berman would be more beneficial for the district and Congress.
We think Berman has demonstrated over the course of decades the experience of a balanced leadership, defending his district’s interests and having a more global vision on the issues the federal legislature deals with. The congressman is today an important bastion of civility in an ideologically polarized House. Berman brings to the table extensive legislative knowledge to move bills forward and forge alliances that lead to concrete results.
In addition to these characteristics, he helps the district he represents. That benefit will be basically immediate, since just based on Berman’s long career in the House, the district will have a higher-ranking representative within the Democratic caucus’ power hierarchy.
At the same time, Berman has shown he is a consistent ally of Latinos in Congress. A case in point is his long-time work on immigration. He took part in the process for the Simpson-Rodino Act, which led to reform and legalization in the 1980s. He also supports the AgJobs bill and is one of the promoters of the DREAM Act. In this regard, immigrants have counted on Berman in Congress.
Berman’s support of free trade bills, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), should also be highlighted. There is a marked contrast between his support and Sherman’s opposition to these agreements.
While we support Berman, let’s not forget the close relationship Sherman has with his district. In this, we appreciate that Berman does not have a parochial vision of his job, but he can improve his style to make it more personal. After all, Berman is competing in a district that contains more of Sherman’s former district than of his own.
This is a tight election between two candidates with a very old rivalry. The aggressive and personally negative tone that this campaign has taken among Democratic and progressive legislators is unfortunate. There is no justification for falling so low in the political debate.
We hope voters in the new District 30 recognize the virtues of Howard Berman by electing him to the House of Representatives.