Dave McCurdy

Dear new Congress: Bottle this feeling and carry it with you
We took the oath 38 years ago — but this isn’t a call to go back to the way things were

OPINION — On Jan. 3, 1981, we raised our hands on the floor of the House of Representatives and solemnly swore to support the Constitution of the United States, and we are watching today with pride, hope and a tinge of jealousy as 100 of you take that oath.

Like it was yesterday, we recall the intoxicating mix of optimism and excitement as a new member walks the hallowed halls of Congress for the very first time. We hope you never let go of that feeling and the energy that propelled you to this moment.

McCurdy: Natural Gas Is Clean, Plentiful, Creates Jobs

President Barack Obama appears to be taking a second look at how to pass comprehensive energy legislation that will improve energy efficiency, reduce consumer costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase America’s energy security and create American jobs. This is a tall order but an achievable one. The question is whether one of the surest ways to meet these goals — clean, American natural gas — will be a defining part of a sound energy policy going forward. 

At a recent address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the president pointed out that the government has a role to play in encouraging energy efficiency to help meet many of our most pressing challenges. And earlier this month during an address on energy at Pennsylvania State University, the president noted that buildings consume 40 percent of the energy we use and present a tremendous opportunity for large-scale energy savings. 

More Rancor, Less Civility

The consensus on Capitol Hill is that something has happened: The place is more rancorous, less civil, more partisan, more polarized and definitely less friendly than when I first came to Washington, D.C., in 1981. Not that I was an insider; my post-election orientation trip to the Capitol was only my third visit to the District. You don’t have to rely on the word of former Members of Congress or lobbyists — just chat with any of the long-serving Capitol Hill cops, restaurant staff or barbers; they will tell you how ugly it has become.

I arrived at the end of an era, when who you were and what you stood for was more of an identity than your party affiliation. We came to represent the nation and our constituents — not necessarily the most vocal — and believed the public was not as partisan or polarized as the elites in the nation’s capital.