Our elected officials in Washington all too often get bogged down in bitter, partisan rancor that keeps any serious legislation or reforms from getting accomplished.
It was certainly true in President Obama's first term as both sides of the aisle and the president himself drew party lines with very little compromise or serious debate taking place. Our own representatives and senators from Kansas were also guilty of this.
But it is pleasing to see in this new session our 2nd District representative Lynn Jenkins trying to rise above the fray and to make her and other legislators accountable for their actions - or lack of them.
Last month Jenkins announced that she was joining the No Labels congressional problem solvers. This group is comprised of 24 Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate who are committed to meeting regularly and building trust across the aisle. It includes conservatives, liberals and "everything in between, who are committed to a new politics of problem solving."
"I am proud to be a part of a group focused on finding common ground, and not simply on taking cheap shots against the other side," Jenkins said in a statement. "Talking across the aisle is the only way we can solve the great challenges threatening the livelihood of Americans and their families."
Jenkins is the only member of the Kansas House or Senate to join the group.
"Either we work across the aisle to fix problems or we achieve nothing," said Congresswoman Jenkins.
Then later in the month Jenkins voted in favor of the No Budget, No Pay Act, a bipartisan supported measure that will keep legislators from getting paid if they do not produce a balanced budget. President Obama signed this bill into law on Monday, a major breakthrough in holding Congress accountable to work together.
Jenkins even sponsored her own version of the No Pay Act which would have dialed legislative salaries back to the 2000 level, the last time the U.S. had a balanced budget.
"Congress has not balanced the budget in more than a decade, and since then, Washington added $10 trillion to the national debt. While our national debt grew larger, so did paychecks for members of Congress," Jenkins said.
"Congress is obligated to responsibly allocate taxpayer dollars, but Washington continues to fail the American people by repeatedly spending money we do not have. Members of Congress should not be rewarded for continuing to rack up red ink."
We couldn't agree more.
Jenkins continues to serve her constituents with strong conservative representation. She has remained outspoken in her support of Second Amendment gun rights, and Tuesday she spoke out in Washington and challenged Congress, Senate Democrats and the president to come forward with a carefully-planned budget proposal. But she has done so without the over-the-top partisan name calling and mudslinging which only serves to alienate opposition and further divide the country, but is all too familiar to many of our elected officials.
Page 2 of 2 - It is leadership like Jenkins has shown in this term that is needed for lawmakers to come together and to resolve important issues facing this country and the 2nd District. We hope to see a lot more of it.