Towns Says Powell 'Might Not Understand How the Congress Works'

After challenger Kevin Powell attacked his Congressional record on Wednesday night, I called Representative Ed Towns to see if he wanted to respond, and he defended himself against both charges over the phone yesterday.

“I think that he might not understand how the Congress works,” Towns said of Powell. “It’s based on seniority.”

At a fund-raiser Wednesday night, Powell assailed Towns because Towns has been in office 25 years and holds no committee chairmanship. Powell also said Towns has missed about 1,000 votes.

Towns is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, whose chairman, John Dingell, has been in office for 53 years–Towns has been in office 26 years. Referring to a colleague on the committee, Towns added, “Another guy in front of me has been here for 30-something years. The seniority system works, but you have to be around for a long, long time.”

As for the missing votes, Towns said the number may be accurate, but Powell unfairly characterized the nature of some of those missed votes.

“The longer you’re here, the more votes you miss,” Towns said. “If you look at John Dingell, he’s been here 53 years and might have missed 53,000 votes.” Towns said he thinks the question to ask is not how many votes a congressman misses, but rather, “Do you miss major votes?”

“You have journal votes, which are the activities of the day,” Towns explained. “The question would be namely the substantive votes. I’ve been there. There’s no if, ands, or buts about it.”

Towns Says Powell 'Might Not Understand How the Congress Works'