Wynn shuns limelight, but works hard for his constituents
I am pleased that The Sun noted my "solid constituent service," but I take strong exception to the statement "Albert Wynn isn't a mover and shaker in Congress and probably never will be" ("Wynn's quiet service nets loud support," editorial, Oct. 2).
Apparently The Sun said this because I have not aspired to the national media spotlight. In my view, too many leaders are long on rhetoric and sound bites and short on substance. I have decided to take the opposite approach.
In suggesting I am an underachiever, The Sun's editorial omitted many of my substantive accomplishments.
I have been very active on Capitol Hill. I am one of two deputy whips from the mid-Atlantic region. In addition, I am the elected representative from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to the Democratic Leadership Council.
The Leadership Council meets with Minority Leader Richard Gephardt daily to discuss strategy, craft the Democratic message and ensure the opinions of the party's respective caucuses are aired.
I am also the chairman of the CBC Taskforce on Small Business and in 1997 received the Small Business Administration's Administrator's Leadership Award for my work on small business issues.
At the beginning of this session, I ran for vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus, making me the first African-American to run for a leadership position since William Gray III. Although I did not win, I was very competitive in a three-way race.
The Sun noted that I sit on the Energy and Power and Telecommunications sub-committees, in the paper's words, two "influential panels within the House Commerce Committee," but insinuated I have not shown leadership on the committee.
The fact is that members are not appointed to elite committees unless the party leaders believe they have the talent and work ethic to do the job.
One of the most important issues in this Congress has been the debate on the restructuring of our national electricity system. As a member of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, I was the only Democrat to get an amendment passed to the House bill on energy deregulation.
This amendment "grandfathered" current state restructuring legislation, preserving the hard work done by Maryland and other states in deregulation. This amendment changed the nature of the debate in Congress, limiting the federal role.
I have subsequently introduced a bill that would guarantee the reliability of the national electricity grid, which will be a major issue in the next Congress.
The Sun's editorial also minimized my recent successes in obtaining funds for federal projects in my district.
I have led the successful fight for funding of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and helped obtain $1.5 billion to date.
I also successfully fought for the consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration at the former Naval Surface Warfare Center at White Oak in Montgomery County, a $580 million project.
Over the past two years, Congress appropriated $127 million for the project's first phase. This year it is the country's largest non-military federal construction project.
In the final analysis, I will concede that I may not be a show horse, but I do try to be a workhorse for the citizens of the 4th Congressional District.
I have not sought the national limelight, but I believe that if I work hard enough, it will find me -- and if not, so be it.
Albert R. Wynn
The writer represents Maryland's 4th Congressional District.
Prothero's killer deserves the full measure of the law
A recent letter lamented the fate of poor Donald White, who was convicted of murder in the killing of Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero ("Sentence in Prothero case much too harsh," letters, Sept. 28).
White, in addition to having an extensive rap sheet, murdered a police officer and bragged about it. Yet the author kindly informs us that this does not make him "literally a killer."
I would like to know just what White is, if he is not a killer. A misunderstood young man? A person with difficult-to-meet needs?
What is ironic is that bleeding-hearts such as the letter writer claim to have a monopoly on compassion.
The reality is that "law and order" types have compassion where it should be: for the victims of criminals such as Donald White.
Return the federal surplus to hardworking taxpayers
Politicians talk of our country's prosperity and offer spending programs because of our budget surplus.
Vice President Al Gore and his advisers tell us the government will protect Social Security and Medicare and offer prescription drugs and education reform.
But who pays? American taxpaying families.
The federal surplus belongs to hardworking American families and should be returned via tax reductions.
We can shop for our own insurance and prescription drug coverage, from companies offering fair, realistic premiums.
But expanding social spending means increasing the government bureaucracy.
Mailbox bashing isn't the most serious of crimes