Experience counts: Democrats should renominate Doyle for Congress

March 29, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This is the first in a series of endorsement editorials on contested races in the April 24 primary. They will culminate in a recap of the Post-Gazette’s recommendations on Sunday, April 22.

Mike Doyle has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 years, but his focus remains outside the Washington Beltway and on his Western Pennsylvania district.

Congressman Doyle, 58, of Forest Hills, faces political newcomer Janis C. Brooks in the Democratic primary and, if successful, will confront another novice in the fall, Republican Hans Lessmann. The boundaries of Mr. Doyle’s 14th Congressional District long have favored a Democrat, and that remains unchanged under new lines that extend the district from Pittsburgh and parts of central and eastern Allegheny County to include Arnold and New Kensington in Westmoreland County.

Mr. Doyle has been a hard-working advocate for the district during his long tenure. He has been influential in developing job training programs such as those at the Pittsburgh Green Innovators Inc. in the Hill District and he believes it is vital for the region to provide training for careers that don’t necessarily require a college degree.

On the national level, he opposes the House Republican budget proposal, which Mr. Doyle said would “eviscerate” the country’s social services, require senior citizens to pay more for health care, force states to pick up more of the tab for Medicaid and create two tax brackets — one for the rich and one for the rest of America.

He played a key role in negotiating an 11th-hour compromise on abortion coverage that preceded passage of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul.

Mr. Doyle’s seniority on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee means he is in line to chair a subcommittee. He has stood up to the tea party, cast sensible votes on gun control, opposed the war in Iraq and believes it’s time to get out of Afghanistan because the U.S. mission there — killing Osama bin Laden and dismantling al-Qaida — has been fulfilled.

Ms. Brooks, who holds a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, is a pastor and the founder of Citizens to Abolish Domestic Apartheid. The 21-year-old social service agency provides after-school and summer programs for children, meals for the elderly and other services to the community around North Versailles, where Ms. Brooks, 62, resides.

She said she agrees with Mr. Doyle on most issues but says if elected, she “would be a voice for the voiceless.” That’s laudable but not enough to trump his record or experience.
The Post-Gazette backs Mike Doyle for the Democratic nomination.