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Joe Cunningham, the Democratic nominee for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, will be a strong advocate for local residents and the environment. Brad Nettles/Staff

Washington, D.C., is awash in hyper-partisan hostility, a troubling reflection of the times and the politicians who helped create them. Joe Cunningham represents a refreshing alternative to that hard-edged tribalism, and his focus on the environment offers crucial protection for the fast-growing 1st District.

Voters should choose him as their next congressman.

Mr. Cunningham will tackle his responsibilities in a practical, level-headed way, reaching across the aisle to help our rapidly growing district prosper while safeguarding its special charm and character. It’s the right balance for both long-time residents of and newcomers to the Lowcountry.

He also is a pragmatist who recognizes that the nation’s success and quality of life are threatened by out-of-control federal spending, the spiraling cost of health care, and our deteriorating and insufficient infrastructure. These problems can only be solved by Republicans and Democrats working together.

“We must end the tribalism,” he said. ”Both parties need new leadership.”

Mr. Cunningham’s top priority is reinstating the ban on offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast, which poses a threat to our economy and environment. He advocates for alternative energy sources such as solar and wind that don’t gamble with the health of our ocean, beaches and rivers.

“Why we’re even having the conversation about offshore drilling just blows my mind,” he said.

We agree.

Mr. Cunningham also said he will work with federal agencies on roads and bridges. For instance, he framed the need for better hurricane evacuation routes as a matter that should garner help from FEMA. “We have military here, so it’s also a matter of national security.”

Mr. Cunningham supports a balanced federal budget, citing the national debt that eventually will endanger benefits to senior citizens and veterans if its growth isn’t checked.

“There is plenty of waste up there in D.C.,” he said. “We should all agree we want a better government, not a bigger government.”

Mr. Cunningham does not support Medicare for All, but he does want to protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing their benefits. He said the biggest failure of the Affordable Care Act was not addressing the cost of prescription drugs. He favors a common- sense approach of allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies like the VA does to drive down costs.

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Mr. Cunningham supports safe and secure borders using technology. “We have ways we can counter this,” he said of illegal immigration, “without spending billions on a wall.”

Mr. Cunningham grew up in rural western Kentucky where gun ownership was a part of life. He has a concealed weapons permit and a healthy respect for the Second Amendment. He supports closing the so-called Charleston loophole and banning bump stocks, both sensible reforms.

Mr. Cunningham’s steadiness, optimism and moderate ideas are a contrast to his Republican opponent Katie Arrington, who recently couched the 1st District race as “the fight of good and evil.”

“Divisive rhetoric isn’t productive, no matter which side of the aisle you’re on,” Mr. Cunningham said. “Most of this district, most of this state, most of this country is somewhere in the middle. I think we’re being represented by extremes up in D.C.”

Mr. Cunningham is the best option for residents who believe that politicians must stand up for the interests of their constituents over partisanship. His sensible proposals and unifying message are a good fit for the Lowcountry.

Voters should send Joe Cunningham to Washington on Nov. 6.

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