The Big Listener
Before today, I’d never heard much about Republican Congressman Jerry Moran, but his methods are impressive and speak to the way a politician should be conducting himself.
Every year since his election to Congress in 1996, Moran has made it his mission to schedule events in each of the 69 counties in his very big 1st Congressional District. This is no simple task: At 57,576 square miles in size, his district is roughly the size of Illinois. It runs 350 miles east from the Colorado border, about the distance from New York City to Richmond, Virginia.
Moran is already well into his eleventh annual tour ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ in response to the uncertainty of a new congressional voting schedule, Moran began his 2007 listening tour in early December. After a brief Christmas break, heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s scheduled to visit three counties on December 27th (including the Hungry Hunter restaurant in Lincoln County), four counties on the 28th (including the Swedish-American State Bank in Republic County), and four more counties before the end of the year. No events are scheduled for New YearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Day, but MoranÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s got six more counties squeezed in before the 110th Congress convenes on January 4.
Maybe if more politicians followed Mr. Moran’s model our government would actually be a place full of big ideas instead of partisan backbiting.
And just in case you think his record doesn’t mirror his non-stop listening tour…there’s this…
Moran has been a strongly independent, principled conservative, voting against his party by not supporting No Child Left Behind or the creation of a multi-trillion dollar Medicare prescription drug program. While criticized by Speaker Dennis Hastert for the latter vote, Moran has received numerous awards for his leadership in health care both on the state and national level.
Moran seems like a guy cut from the Gerald Ford mold of pragmatic thinking and genuine politicking.
Keep your eyes on this guy. Who knows how far he could go.