After a dozen years in Congress, David Wu, who represents Oregon's 1st Congressional District, remains dogged by concerns that he has failed to take on any meaningful leadership roles in Washington, D.C., or author any significant legislation.
According to some insider tracking of Congress, Wu votes with his party leaders almost 97 percent of the time and is known as a follower who routinely cosponsors legislation introduced by others, but rarely sponsors legislation that wins endorsements from fellow congressmen or women.
Harsh words, we recognize, for someone that we have endorsed in six previous elections. Tough criticism, too, for Wu - who is a friendly person and earnest without fail. Yet it is that earnestness that oftentimes drives Wu off track when he is speaking in public, and leaves listeners wondering what he said and what he meant.
Wu's strength has been his work - and the work of his congressional staff - to serve individual constituents' concerns in a district that stretches from the banks of the Willamette River to the Oregon Coast.
But in the Nov. 2 general election, we urge voters to make a change and select Wu's Republican opponent, Rob Cornilles, founder of a Tualatin sports consulting company, Game Face Inc. (Constitution Party candidate Don LaMunyon is also in the race.)
Cornilles is akin to Wu when he first ran for Congress: a novice. But we think Cornilles will prove a much quicker study and will become more deeply involved in issues that represent Oregon's interests in Congress: economic recovery for small business, and opposing regulations and spending policies that threaten more burdens and more debt.
If elected, Cornilles will need to learn quickly that the easy part of winning votes is over and the tough part of representing a diverse district as a freshman congressman is just beginning. He will need to learn that Oregon is best served by moderate politicians. He should not give into partisanship and simply bash the Obama administration or House Democrats. To best serve his district, Cornilles would be wise to follow the lead of moderate Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden of Hood River.
On matters such as foreign trade, Cornilles must find a balance amidst Oregon's divergent interests - which range from from high-tech manufacturers, including Intel and SolarWorld, to farm commodity exporters and sporting goods giants, including Nike and Columbia Sportswear.
Voters in Oregon's 1st Congressional District should make an abrupt shift from the past and give Rob Cornilles a chance to represent them.