Rich Galen
One of the really nice things about doing what I do for as long as I've done it, is watching the growth and success of people I first met years ago.

Fred Upton is the Congressman from the sixth district of Michigan which is in the southeast corner of Michigan running along the Indiana border, then north along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. He was first elected in 1986 at the age of 33.

To a great degree, Congressman Upton has come of age in the U.S. House of Representatives.

If you haven't heard of him, that is no surprise. He is typical of the vast majority of Members of the U.S. House - comes to work every day (he has rarely missed a vote), pays close attention to his constituents (he signs most letters personally), knows a lot about what goes on in the committees on which he serves especially Energy and Commerce (he is a noted opponent of "net neutrality" rules), but doesn't spend a great deal of time and effort getting on Sunday shows, or in shouting matches on cable news channels.

A decent guy, he is adored by his constituents, having won with 62 percent of the vote earlier this month, and is well respected by his colleagues as he is likely to be named Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by the House GOP leadership.

I am focusing on Fred Upton because he is very much like most of the men and women in Congress who do, as it is called, the heavy lifting, day in and day out.

One of the great dangers that Speaker-to-be John Boehner has to avoid is internecine fighting among the 240+ members of the GOP Conference in the House.

As part of the reforms instituted by Newt Gingrich and his mates taking control of the House in 1995, a term-limit rule was imposed on committee chairs. The thinking was (and is) that being in charge of your side of the aisle for six years is enough, and someone else should have a shot after that.

The issue arises when, as in the case of the Energy & Commerce Committee, Texan Joe Barton had the chairman's gavel for two years and then had to serve his next four years in the demi-dungeon of ranking member - the head of the minority members of the panel.

Barton, whom I like and admire, is attempting to convince the leadership that he hasn't had a fair shot because being ranking member isn't the same as being chairman.

That's true, but in my estimation, you've still been senior Republican and it's time to let someone else move in.

I'm confident that Fred Upton will be the new chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee. He's waited patiently, worked hard, and deserves the gavel.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.