There are 435 voting members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In theory, they each have one vote to cast when important matters are decided.
In truth, however, some members of the House have much more influence and power than do others.
Most of the work of the House is done in committees. That's where the decisions are made about which bills are voted on by the whole House and what provisions they contain.
Given the way congressional decisions are made, the committee assignments a congressman receives have a great deal to do with how much real power and influence that member has - and how effectively the voters back home can be served.
Iowa's 4th Congressional District is fortunate to have a congressman whose committee assignments position him ideally to assure that the interests of central and northern Iowa are heard loudly and clearly in Washington.
Tom Latham, a Republican from Ames, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. His background as a farmer and small-business owner means that he understands well the needs of a predominantly rural district. He was singled out early by his colleagues as someone whose views they respected. That led to his selection as the only Iowan on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Within that committee he serves on the Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Energy and Water subcommittees.
It's almost impossible to exaggerate how important Latham's role in the appropriations process is to his district and the whole state of Iowa. He is perfectly positioned to make certain that rural Iowa gets a fair hearing for projects in need of federal dollars. Grants to support community projects have a real chance to be funded with Latham's help. A congressman who does not sit on the Appropriations Committee can plead the case for his constituents. One who is a member of that committee helps decide which of the many worthy causes being touted get funding.
Tom Latham is not a congressman who believes in wasteful federal spending. He is, however, determined that Iowa be treated fairly by the power brokers in Washington. We need to keep him on the job protecting the interests of the 4th District and the entire Hawkeye State.
Latham has proved a judicious advocate for countless projects that have helped our communities thrive. He listens carefully to voters, and works tirelessly on Capitol Hill to explain Iowa's needs. He is a champion we can ill afford to lose.
The Daily Freeman-Journal enthusiastically supports the re-election of Tom Latham.