Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Ray LaHood, On Bipartisanship

On Tuesday, Aug. 30 Ray LaHood, former Congressman and Secretary of Transportation addressed Bipartisanship and today’s political climate in Augustana’s Wallenberg Hall.
President Steve Bahls introduced Senator LaHood with “America needs more bipartisanship.”
One of LaHood’s main focuses for the night was that Bipartisanship is important for our country’s political system. People in public service jobs need to work for the people, not for a political party.
LaHood recalled the time served under President Clinton when the majority of Congress was Republican under a Democratic president. LaHood believes Clinton worked with Congress to get the job done, and it was clear that in today’s political climate, elected public service members are not always working for the people.
When asked how we can change the political climate, LaHood stated that elections make a difference.
Regarding the Clinton vs. Trump debate, LaHood believes that people have to make a choice, as nobody knows how the election is going to turn out.
A member of the audience asked about the issue of third party candidates. LaHood responded that no matter how qualified a candidate may be it is hard for them to get the kind of attention they need.
LaHood addressed the problem that there is too much money in running for an elected office, calling it “a money game”. Even if a candidate had nothing, LaHood recommends to go out and “do it”, as America needs people who are committed to the job they are elected to and good young people in public service.
Ray LaHood is originally from Peoria, Illinois. In Peoria, he ran Bob Michel’s district operation for 12 years and was voted into Michel’s place when he retired.
A member of the audience asked LaHood about his view on Illinois’ debt and budget issues. LaHood views one-party rule as a major contributing factor to the problem. He stated that one-party rule has ruined our state. He addressed the problem with having one Democratic speaker of the house for over 30 years.
LaHood urged that elections can help and encouraged members of the audience to go and vote.
“The reason this is important is because in today’s political climate Bipartisanship is a powerful force that is too rarely used.” said Kai Swanson, Special Assistant to the President .
One of LaHood’s strongest messages was that Americans need to elect people that believe in the job they are elected to vs. believing in only their political party.
“I appreciated that he is a respectful man, he showed his dignity and showed his respect for President Obama even though he is not in the same party. There was a lot of credit given to President Obama in the term that he served with him.” stated senior Kamille Brashear, who attended the event.

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Ray LaHood, On Bipartisanship