Ross calls for bipartisan seating | Arkansas Blog

Ross calls for bipartisan seating

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Rep. Mike Ross signed a letter today, part of an effort led by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, to call for bipartisan seating during the president's State of the Union address, instead of the traditional Democrats-on-the-left, Republicans-on-the-right arrangement. Ross said in a news release:

“The recent shootings in Arizona have touched all of our lives, regardless of ideology or partisan affiliation,” said Ross. “The country is rallying behind the people of Arizona in prayer and support and we are doing so together as Americans — not as Democrats or Republicans. That theme of national unity should carry through to the State of the Union address as a sign to the world that Americans will always stand united in times of peril.”

The press release is on the jump. Is this part of a serious attempt to make nice and tamper partisan bickering? Or is it more pandering from Ross? What say you?

WASHINGTON — U.S. Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott today called on the leaders in Congress to encourage bipartisan seating at the President’s State of the Union address, scheduled for January 25, 2011. Ross signed a letter, joining a bipartisan effort led by U.S. Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, encouraging leaders in Congress to start a new tradition for the annual address — one that demonstrates national unity over partisan divide.

“The recent shootings in Arizona have touched all of our lives, regardless of ideology or partisan affiliation,” said Ross. “The country is rallying behind the people of Arizona in prayer and support and we are doing so together as Americans — not as Democrats or Republicans. That theme of national unity should carry through to the State of the Union address as a sign to the world that Americans will always stand united in times of peril.”

Typically, during the President’s State of the Union, Republicans sit on the right side of the House chamber and Democrats sit on the left side of the chamber. As the letter reads, “Beyond custom, there is no rule or reason that on this night we should emphasize divided government, separated by party, instead of being seen united as a country. The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room — while the other side sits — is unbecoming of a serious institution.”

Ross said he thinks it is important for Congress to lead by example.

“The State of the Union is each president’s opportunity to present his ideas to Congress for consideration and it’s important that we listen to and consider each of his ideas as Americans, not as partisan ideologues,” said Ross. “I have always said that I don’t care if it’s a Democratic or Republican idea. I only care if it’s a commonsense idea and if it makes sense for the people of Arkansas. Party affiliation should not determine whether an idea is good or bad and that’s the message we will hopefully be sending to the American people on January 25. Now is the time for serious debate and Congress should lead by example.”

The letter ends with, “On the night of the State of the Union address, we are asking others to join us — House and Senate members from both parties — to cross the aisle and sit together. We hope that as the nation watches, Democrats and Republicans will reflect the interspersed character of America itself. Perhaps by sitting with each other for one night, we will begin to rekindle that common spark that brought us here from 50 different states and widely diverging backgrounds to serve the public good.”

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A fifth generation Arkansan, Congressman Mike Ross of Prescott represents the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ross serves on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and serves as Vice President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Ross is also key leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative Democratic House members that advocates the principles of fiscal responsibility and government accountability.


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