Editorials

His public service record and experience are key to effective representation

Rep. Joe Wilson's many years of public service, experience in elective office and commitment to our country's armed forces makes him our choice in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

His 17 years in the state Senate, his work for the late U.S. Rep. Floyd Spence and Sen. Strom Thurmond and his nearly 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives give him critical perspectives on the lawmaking process and the issues affecting South Carolina. His House committee assignments -- Armed Services, Education and Labor, and Foreign Affairs -- are key assignments for this area, particularly his work on the Military Personnel and Air and Land Forces subcommittees.

Wilson has set appropriate priorities for his fifth full term representing the district. That starts with getting our ballooning federal debt under control. He understands the need to say "no" to certain earmarks, even requests from people in his own district, and the need for transparency on such requests. His opposition to earmarks is based on abuse of the process.

Even so, he says there can be legitimate earmarks, such as the federal money designated for widening U.S. 278 on the mainland and renourishing the vanishing beach at Hunting Island, which he describes as a national treasure. But they should be able to withstand full public scrutiny.

He also recognizes the importance of protecting the Lowcountry's natural resources and its tourism industry, particularly when it comes to the possibility of offshore drilling.

Wilson is firm in his opposition to allowing the Bush tax cuts to lapse at the end of the year. The expiration of the cuts, he says, would in fact be a tax increase and a "jobs killer."

But he also recognizes the other half the deficit equation -- too much spending.

"One of the great errors of the Bush administration was not to veto the spending," Wilson said. "To get sufficient votes to pass the budget, deals were cut. Even with a mushrooming increase in revenue (due to the tax cuts), spending followed."

Wilson is committed to reining in spending, and we expect to see him act on the fiscally conservative principles he espouses. And we expect him to work across the aisle to accomplish important goals for his district and the country, including changes he seeks to the health care law. Partisan gridlock does not serve our country.

The profile of this race was raised exponentially last September when Wilson yelled out "you lie" to President Barack Obama during a speech on health care reform before a joint session of Congress. Wilson's campaign coffers got a big boost from that, but Wilson is clear that he would not do it again, despite the money and attention it brought him.

"I have respect for the president; I have respect for this president."

Wilson has the opportunity with his experience and his seniority to serve well his district and his country. We expect him to make them count.

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