A spirit of bipartisanship must be restored to Washington, D.C., if the nation’s government is ever to escape its current dysfunction, U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn said during a campaign swing through Columbus today.
Nunn’s sentiment was echoed by former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, the candidate’s father, and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, who were accompanying her on the campaign trail.
Michelle Nunn, a 47-year-old Democrat, said she would like to bring back to Washington the spirit of cooperation that was evident in her father’s tenure in the Senate, which ran from 1972 to 1997.
“One senator in Washington can actually make a material difference,” Nunn said. “That person can help change the culture of Washington by joining forces with others, by reaching across the aisle, by actually realizing that there are good ideas on both sides of the aisle.”
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The elder Nunn, a lifelong Democrat, said it is imperative that congressional leaders set aside partisan politics to seek solutions to grave issues facing the country. He pointed to the example of his long friendship with the late Bo Callaway, who served in the Nixon and Ford administrations.
“Bo and I were terrific friends and worked together well, even though we had different views on some things,” Nunn said. “He was Secretary of the Army when I took over the Manpower Subcommittee (of the Senate Armed Services Committee) and we actually worked together to for a whole new brigade in the Army by working together to cut waste and inefficiencies. That’s the kind of spirit that seems to be too often missing today.”
Sam Nunn said that spirit must return to national politics, or the consequences for the country could be grave.
“Name a big problem, just name one, and we can’t deal with it without people working together,” he said. “Whether it’s immigration, whether it’s education, health care, long-term fiscal affairs, national security, all of those things require people from both sides of the aisle working together.”
Bishop, who represents Georgia’s Second District, which includes Fort Benning, echoed the Nunns’ sentiments on bipartisanship.
“It’s imperative that we work together,” Bishop said. “Because the challenges that Americans face are not Republican challenges or Democratic challenges, they’re American challenges. And the solutions will be American solutions.
“We have to have people who are willing to disagree, but at the end of the day come to a resolution and compromise to address the needs of the American people.”
Michelle Nunn is facing Republican David Perdue to see who will replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss.