Saturday, December 30, 2006

Democrats vow to restore political integrity

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A California Democrat newly elected to Congress promised Saturday that his party will restore integrity and civility to the House when it assumes control in January.

"In this election, the American people clearly called for change," Rep.-elect Jerry McNerney said in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "As our first responsibility in fulfilling the mandate of this critical election, House Democrats will restore integrity and civility in Washington in order to earn the public trust."

The effort to build that trust will include bans on gifts from lobbyists, lobbyist-funded travel and use of corporate jets, McNerney said.

The incoming congressman also promised "a new direction in Iraq" and said Democrats would resist any plan to deploy more U.S. troops there. "The Iraqis need to understand that the responsibility for the future of that country is theirs," he said.

McNerney also said Democrats would work to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil "while creating jobs, prosperity and a healthy environment with a new energy technology, including renewable energy and biofuels."

Before running for office, McNerney worked as a wind-energy engineer and consultant. In November, he defeated incumbent Republican Richard Pombo, whose efforts to rewrite the endangered species law and open public lands to energy drilling were frequently criticized by environmentalists when he chaired the House Resources Committee.


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