Rep. Harry Teague must be doing something right, as both the political right and left are ticked off at him in this election cycle. Harry famously voted against the administration’s health care legislation, a decision which the left hates.
However, he also voted in favor of the climate-related cap and trade bill to control emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The latter vote infuriated his Hobbs petroleum industry buddies to the extent that they are taking it out on his oilfield services business. That and the sour economy have forced him to drop health coverage for his employees, a decision which is being exploited in truly vicious attack ads.
Personally, I disagreed with Harry’s vote against the health bill and tried to persuade him to change his view. However, I have to respect his judgment that a significant weakness of the bill is its failure to do more to control health care costs. I am sure that second congressional district politics played at least some role in his decision; it is a conservative district and you have to represent your constituents.
One vote, even a major one, can’t be allowed to obscure the broader picture. Overall, Harry is a voice of reason in an increasingly lunatic political scene. Harry cares enough about the people in his district to show up in New Mexico almost every weekend during the legislative season. He has taken a particular interest in helping returning veterans get the aid they need. Though an oil man, he clearly understands that the age of petroleum is coming to an end, and that measures to limit climate change are sorely needed. His vote in favor of cap and trade was an extreme act of courage, given the neighborhood he lives in.
At this moment people are lashing out in anger as the results of decades of bad decisions come home to roost. In my view, Harry Teague is not part of the problem; he is part of the solution and we urgently need to return him to Congress.
David J. Raymond