Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid personally invited him to join the Mormon Democratic Congressional Caucus. Reid was recently elected to be the Leader of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate and he is also the highest-ranking LDS member of Congress.
The caucus met earlier this week and although Faleomavaega was unable to attend the first meeting due to a scheduling conflict, he has accepted Senator Reid’s invitation and looks forward to working with the caucus during the 109th Congress.
Earlier this week, the group discussed a number of issues important to the LDS community as well as how to raise the profile of Mormon Democrats and highlight the need to have representation from both parties. “The Founding Fathers intentionally created the Congress to be a place for meaningful debate,” Sen. Reid said. “Legislation is the art of compromise, and a strong two party system is fundamental to our democracy.”
“I believe strongly that Democrats have many of the same issues at heart as do members of the Church,” Reid added. “For example, as a party, we believe it is our moral responsibility to care for the less fortunate and for one another. Also, one of the issues of most concern to me right now is our record deficit. We need to live within our means as a country and reign in the federal spending that has skyrocket in recent years.”
"As Mormon Democrats, we share a strong sense of duty to family and community. I think it is a good thing when we can bring our voices to the discussion of many issues that affect the safety, prosperity and quality of life here in the West. I hope folks in both parties take note of that perspective," said Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT).
"I look forward to working with my Democratic colleagues in bringing a new voice to policy debates,” Congressman Tom Udall (D-NM) said. “As members of Congress from the West, we are committed to establishing federal policies that build strong, sustainable rural communities; ensure access to affordable health care; and develop natural resource and energy programs that protect water and our environment."
Congressman Faleomavaega added, “I commend Senator Reid for his leadership in the U.S. Senate and the Democratic Party. As the newly elected Senate Democratic Leader, Senator Reid is the first member of the LDS Church to serve in this prestigious position. Like Senator Reid, I believe the LDS church needs representation in both the Democratic and Republican parties. For too long there has been a misconception that LDS Democrats and Republicans do not share the same values. But this is not true. Our values are the same but our political philosophies are different.”
“Democrats support working people and have a difference of opinion from our Republican colleagues on health care, education, the environment, taxes, and international relations to name a few. However, at the end of the day, whether Democrat or Republican, our LDS values remain the same and this is why the LDS church, as a matter of official policy, does not support one political party over the other.”
Although a specific schedule has yet to be determined, the Mormon Democratic Congressional Caucus plans to meet regularly and the members look forward to increasing the profile of Mormon Democrats.