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Herald Endorsement

In the 4th Congressional District, send Rice back to Washington

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To slash through the sea of partisanship that now engulfs Congress, strong proponents of bipartisanship and people of action are needed. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Democrat, claims to be one of those people. Republican Ameer Benno is challenging her.

Rice, running for her third term, has spoken effectively about the need for new House leadership, and is part of what she termed the New Dems caucus: representatives willing to reach across the aisle and negotiate with similarly moderate GOP members to solve problems and move vital issues forward.

Rice noted that some Democrats and Republicans were discussing changing the terminology for the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to auto enrollment.

Reinvesting in promoting the enrollment periods for the ACA, as has been done in California, is another good point Rice makes, saying that all the GOP has done for seven years is chant “Repeal and replace.” Benno favors returning the responsibility for determining health care coverage to the states.

Reinstating the assault weapons ban, Rice says, would require bipartisanship. Benno has not said whether he supports or opposes such a ban, which we believe is needed to reduce the maddening frequency of mass shootings.

Both candidates agree on having universal background checks for gun purchases. Benno advocates having resources in schools such as social workers who are trained to identify people who might pose a threat, schools developing more collaborative relationships with law enforcement and reducing emergency responders’ response time.

Rice said that the Democrats must stop treating ethnic and demographic groups as monoliths. No matter their race or religion, she said, people are interested in a host of issues, and Democrats must change the conversation to reflect that.

We believe that Rice’s ideas to challenge the leaders of congressional committees to propose three items they want to achieve in the next two years, and to avoid revisiting the Kavanaugh confirmation controversy, will be useful in helping Democrats find their way out of the political wilderness.

Benno is smart, and should remain involved in the conversation about our national politics. But we like what Rice has done so far, and urge voters to support her next Tuesday.