This morning I had a pleasant conversation with Joan Fitz-Gerald rounding out my chance to talk to all three candidates for the CO-2 Democratic nomination.
The biggest thing that struck me throughout the conversation was that she gets it done. Issue after issue, topic after topic, it was how she had reached compromises on bills and then worked them through. Or how she had effectively stopped bad laws. On federal issues it was how to step up and address the problem today, not over the next N years.
In other words, she is a high energy perpetual motion machine.
She talked about federal issues but what I found really interesting is her discussion on how she has worked to date so far on issues like Ref C, the Republican midnight redistricting attempt that she helped stop, etc. Politics is the art of the compromise and she is clearly very good at finding a compromise that everyone can live with, and then getting it passed.
On issues she would work on in Congress, she lists fixing health-care first. But she talked more about Iraq. And it was the most comprehensive look at Iraq of any of the candidates, listing not just the diplomatic disaster it is and the soldiers wounded and killed, but also talking at length about how the money going there stops funding for so many things we need here, how it has brought about a tremendous retraction of our constitutional liberties, and about the long term effects on soldiers wounded (mentally as well as physically) in the war and how we as a country need to do right by them.
She will clearly be a strong intelligent voice on getting us the hell out of Iraq and taking care of our returning troops. And she does mean out - Marine guard at the embassy and that's it for troops in the country.
The other theme that she kept returning to was that time matters. She is not willing to sit back and say it takes years to bring up bills and get them through. She is not willing to feel good about having 1 or 2 bills that matter come through each year. The best way she put it was in terms of when you have kids you have such a short time to raise them and so time matters. She would be one voice of 435 but she would be one of the more effective ones and she would be pushing to get things handled now.
She also talked about Congress regaining it's constitutional role in the government. And she talked numerous times about what this country is and should be. That we have been and need to be again a country where children do not graduate from college with a $40,000.00 debt. Where the disabled are taken care of. Where the constitution is followed.
Oh yeah - health-care. She does view fixing this as a top priority and I have no doubt she would work on it. But it is the above items that brought out the passion in her.
She also clearly does her homework. She brought up two things I have mentioned in my blog - months ago. If she puts in this amount of effort to talk to a small blogger, it's no wonder that she got Bill Owens in line for Ref C and everything else she got through under his administration.
While I think all three would do a good job, I think Joan would almost certainly be the most effective of the three. As to where she will focus her efforts, I think it will be Iraq and to repairing the damage to our system of government - both in Congress and in the Country.