Congressman Leonard Lance will be setting up his mobile office at the Hillsborough Public Library on Tuesday, August 11. The congressman is not expected to be present, but staff members will be available to help residents with issues, and to answer questions. I am sure they will get a lot of questions.
Most of the questions will be about the congressman's vote on the “American Clean Energy and Security Act" - the so-called "cap and trade" bill. Lance was one of just eight Republicans to vote in favor of the bill - a stat that is troubling to many of his 7th district constituents and our neighbors throughout the state.
Before I get into the congressman's explanation for his vote, it is important to understand that in no way was Lance's vote a "deciding vote" on this bill. There were a small number of Democrats who voted against the bill, and there is no doubt in my mind that if the bill were in danger of being defeated, any one or all of these Democrats would have voted Yes.
Lance issued a statement explaining his vote. His message is that the bill leads America into an era of clean energy and away from dependence on foreign oil. More importantly, New Jersey is already a leader in clean energy initiatives. The standards imposed by the bill are LESS strict than the current New Jersey standards, and, therefore, our state will reap the benefits of the bill, without shouldering the burden.
I respect the congressman's view here. It is entirely valid to vote "NJ first" - he is our representative, representing our entire district, Republicans, Democrats, and independents.
But he also must know that it does New Jersey no good to come out on top while the nation goes down the drain - and his votes need to represent that also.
I think Leonard Lance understands this. His views on the stimulus and health care reform show that he is not ONLY looking at New Jersey, but also looking at the big picture. I don't think this one vote on "cap and trade" suggests a shift away from his core fiscal conservative values.
And besides that, there's always the alternative.