Chronicle Endorses Noriega
Newspaper endorsements don't change much on the ground, but it was nonetheless heartening to read this endorsement this morning.
Come January, the halls of Congress will likely be populated by strengthened Democratic majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Texas will need able representation in all arenas in that shifting legislative environment. It will be especially important for Texans to have a strong, respected voice inside the expected Democratic majority in the Senate. Rick Noriega offers such a voice, with a distinctive Lone Star tone and perspective. The Chronicle endorses Noriega for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican John Cornyn.Noriega, a Houstonian, describes himself as a Texas Democrat. That term, once common currency in the state's political conversation, seems to have fallen out of favor over the past several Republican-dominated years. But it resonates once more in this season of voter discontent with partisanship uber alles. Some old-fashioned moderate bipartisanship, Texas style, should be much welcomed in the Washington debate, particularly on overheated topics such as energy and immigration. Rick Noriega can provide it.They go on to make a point that I think cannot be expressed frequently enough.
Noriega well understands that there are subjects on which Texas Democrats must stand apart from the party's national leadership. Energy is one. He is committed to bringing the message that the nation will need new domestic oil and gas supplies as it builds a bridge to greater energy independence and increased reliance on alternative energy sources. He will be able to point out in a forceful and personal way the folly of relying almost exclusively on hurricane-prone areas of the Gulf for supplies when abundant reserves can be tapped on the East and West coasts with little risk to the environment.Come January, the stronger Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate (and a probable Democratic president) will mean a lot more legislators with anti-oil and gas feelings. They may be more environmentally sensitive than Congresses past, or they may feel a partisan dislike for the industry based on its long association with the Republican party. This is the reality of the situation.
But this negativity towards oil and gas exploration and production can be mitigated by a strong Texas Democratic presence in the House and Senate. We already have some Democrats in the House, and we're likely to have more (including, hopefully, Michael Skelly, whose energy plan I discussed in an earlier post). But right now we have no Democrats in the Senate--but we have a chance with Noriega. Indeed, a good way to think of the choice is between a useless, isolated John Cornyn and an engaged, welcomed fellow-party-member Rick Noriega. Noriega will be part of majority party, and will thus have a seat at the table. He can help represent the oil and gas industry and all its workers (like me!) in the Senate, in a way that Cornyn obviously cannot.
For this and many other reasons, vote Noriega.