Dan Lungren is out of touch.
That's the only way to explain why Dan stood silent in Congress while his colleague, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, offered an apology to BP and, as the Republican Congressional policy group he's a member of, called the compensation fund for victims of the oil disaster a "shakedown."
Dan had a choice: Stand up for his constituents, American taxpayers and those in the Gulf affected by this disaster, or do nothing. After taking more than $75,000 from the oil and gas industry, and as a leading supporter of off shore oil drilling, Dan's silence speaks volumes about who he's working for.
The sad truth is this: it's big corporations, not us.
As a doctor, I understand how actions can affect lives. What you say and do in a crisis matters. There isn't the luxury of remaining silent, or standing on the sidelines. There is a need for clear and decisive action. If I was in Congress, I would act to protect taxpayers and the environment; Dan chose to stay silent and avoid upsetting his campaign contributors.
That's the difference between Dan and me.
My campaign for Congress is about reaching out to our local communities to have a real, honest discussion about how to create jobs, improve our schools and make health insurance more affordable.
To be blunt, Dan's campaign is about taking care of his big corporate contributors. Instead of accepting invitations to debate the issues, he continues to hide behind handlers. Instead of saying where he stands and rising up to the challenges we face, Dan canceled joint appearances at the last minute - not once, but twice.
This is a far cry from the Dan Lungren who once said: "Let's have an old-fashioned Lincoln-Douglas style debate... Why can't we be without handlers? Why can't we just say who we are, what we are and what we stand for?"
I agree with Dan on this point. That's why I have challenged him to a series of five debates, one in each county of the Third Congressional District.
The people deserve an open and honest debate on the issues that illustrate the choice they will have this November.
Will Dan have the character to answer his own question? Or will he just keep hiding behind his handlers and their negative attacks?
Either way, I invite you to learn more about my campaign at http://www.BeraforCongress.com. Tell me what you think and I hope you can join us for a house party where we can discuss the issues.
Follow Ami Bera, MD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BeraForCongress