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Problem Solvers should pick new speaker

The Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives is a group of congressional representatives, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, t

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hat is committed to “finding common ground on key issues facing the nation”. The beauty in a democracy is that it allows for differing points of view to be debated and considered. History is replete with examples of great solutions arising when each and every point of view is considered and given respect. We cannot underestimate the value that both Conservative right and Progressive left ideologies have contributed to our country. But while they are at the root of partisan motivation for change, actual progress only takes place when leadership comes from the middle. The art of leadership is in the balance of the two ideologies. As a lifelong Midwesterner, I recognize that we in Michigan tend towards purple. Not surprisingly, our 13 House Representatives are roughly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats – 6 are prominently featured on the Problem Solvers Caucus website. Now is the time for our 13, and certainly that caucus, to demonstrate some vision and leadership for both Michiganders and the American people. The bottom line is that the Problem Solvers Caucus needs to show they can solve a problem. They need to take center stage in the current struggle to find a new Speaker of the House. The House is in dysfunction, and we need a solution that does not lead to more disruption and failed government. It is time for this caucus to bring together moderates from both sides of the aisle to form a coalition and support a Speaker who will equitably share leadership between the parties. Leadership should reward those who work toward cooperation, listen to those who adhere to respectful communication, and support members who accept and encourage compromise, while retaining their core values. We should all walk away from those who do not practice these skills. Given the current level of vitriol, I have little faith that the current Republican conference can play by these rules. Therefore, I encourage the Problem Solvers Caucus to propose a new type of leadership – one of coalition. This will require Republicans and Democrats to collaborate on the election of a new Speaker. This process may lead to agreement on electing a current member of the House, or it may require reaching outside current House membership for a new Speaker, someone who has demonstrated an ability to work with opposition parties and still garner respect from within personal party ranks. It is time to think outside the box and solve this House leadership problem. If there is no one in the current House ranks who has these abilities, look elsewhere. Problem Solvers Caucus, live up to your name. Ken Neumann Galien

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