This is one in a series of editorials commenting on candidates and issues on the Nov. 6 ballot. The Editorial Board shares its opinions for the benefit of interested readers; we invite your opinions as well.
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves seeks a 10th term in Congress and the chance to be the next chairman of the influential House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
It should not be lost on voters of Missouri’s 6th District that a victory for Graves also could be victory for them.
Out of 435 representatives, Graves could well sit at the center of deliberations in the new Congress about how best to pursue President Trump’s pledge to rebuild America’s infrastructure and address long-term funding needs for highways, bridges and ports.
The Republican from Tarkio is in position to contend for this assignment because of his tenure — twice that of his chief rival, a representative from California — and his previous leadership roles, including chairman of the Small Business Committee and chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
It also is to his credit that Graves comes from a farming background and the only congressional district with boundaries on both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. He has keen insights into the importance of transportation nationally and to agricultural producers who require a safe and efficient means to get their goods to market.
Graves also has been a voice of reason in calling for the U.S. Corps of Engineers to prioritize flood control and the human population over protection of wildlife habitat along the Missouri River.
On other issues, Graves has been a consistent conservative vote in line with the views of many of his constituents. He advocates for 2nd Amendment rights, was an early proponent of building a wall on the southern U.S. border to stem illegal immigration, and strongly supported the 2017 tax law to lessen taxes on businesses and individuals as a means to stimulate the economy.
Graves spoke out against scrapping the trade deal with Mexico and Canada, but said, “After 24 years, renegotiation was necessary not only to make sure we had the best deal, but to compete in the 21st century.” He has praised the new trade terms with the two countries for helping dairy and poultry farmers and for creating less incentive to move auto manufacturing to Mexico.
A pilot himself, Graves also sits on the Armed Services Committee and has worked effectively to protect the interests of the Air National Guard base in St. Joseph.
The Democratic nominee, Henry Martin of Kansas City, is an educator, coach and Army veteran who served in the Persian Gulf. Martin argues it is time for a change, but he cannot demonstrate he would be a better representative on such important district issues as highways, agriculture and economic development.
We endorse Sam Graves for re-election to the U.S. House on Nov. 6.