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To the editor:

The current public outrage about the overdrafting of checks by so many members of the House of Representatives will definitely produce some "losers." No doubt the list of losers will at least include those congressmen who have been the worst abusers. Unfortunately, however, the House of Representatives itself is likely to be the greatest loser as voters, who already hold Congress in low esteem, transfer their anger from some of the members of Congress to the institution as a whole.The U.S. Congress is infinitely more important than the political careers of any of its members. Confidence in Congress is essential if we are to find solutions to the problems that confront our nation. Members of Congress must do a better job of earning the respect and confidence of the voters.

While there are losers, there are also "winners." My friend and colleague, Congressman Jim Hansen, is clearly one of those winners. For the past decade, he has served on the House Ethics Committee with fairness and distinction as the ranking minority member. This assignment is a thankless task at best. But with so many members of the House caught up in this current controversy, Jim has had a particularly difficult responsibility.

Jim Hansen's performance on the Ethics Committee has drawn praise from many of my colleagues in the House. He is probably not aware of it, but he received high praise in the Democratic caucus for his honor and integrity displayed in the non-partisan way in which he discharged his responsibilities.

There is little hope for the nation unless all those who represent the people in government do so with a greater degree of dedication to the public good and less partisanship that is far too prevalent today.

In this very difficult assignment, Jim Hansen served as an example for all of us. Utah should be very proud of Jim. I certainly am. Thanks, Jim.

William H. Orton

Member of Congress