Thirty years is a long time for most anything. Serving in Congress that long is extraordinary.
Rep. Pete Visclosky has done just that and is running for yet another two-year term. I can't imagine his not winning.
For Northwest Indiana it would be a tragedy to lose his voice in Washington. Time and again he has brought federal dollars to the region.
He now stands as the champion supporting extension of the South Shore rail line from Hammond to Dyer and ultimately south to Lowell and east to Valparaiso. Millions of federal dollars are at stake.
It is his longevity in Congress that should assure the cash is coming for this project. His support of legislation by other members of Congress will allow him to call in a few markers in support for South Shore funding.
He has already done his work locally to bring communities together to support extension of the of the South Shore. In fact, he was full of praise when we met last week for Cedar Lake becoming the latest community to pledge money for the local match for federal money.
Of course, his support of extending commuter rail service is typical of his understanding of the importance of the region's many and diverse communities acting as one when dealing with Washington or Indianapolis on issues that truly are regional.
Just stop and think of Visclosky's track record. He has worked tirelessly toward making the Gary/Chicago International Airport all it can be. His Marquette Plan is slowly leading to the Lake Michigan shoreline being developed and protected as the people's place.
His stealth hand has been present locally in many ways over his 30 years in Congress. He has quietly worked for better government in the region. His representation in Washington has let big steel's voice be heard. The list of his service to those living and working in the region goes on and on.
What sets him apart is his visionary leadership. It is his ability to work across political and geographic boundaries to reach a common goal that makes him unique.
Can you imagine what good could result if all our elected officials put politics and territorial concerns aside? Well, I have to believe it will be that proverbial cold day when that happens.
What we can count on is a congressman who sees all of us together and works for the good of all. For that reason alone, let's hope his tenure in Congress lasts well beyond 30 years.