Meeting minutes from the cutting room floor

As dry as a two-hour Congressional hearing about transportation and infrastructure projects sounds, the event in Vancouver Monday morning did include some lighter moments.

During his testimony, David Madore, owner of US Digital and founder of, testified during the hearing and focused on the Columbia River Crossing.

Florida Congressman John Mica, who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, asked Madore for his suggestions on how to change the process.

“The citizens in our area, let’s ask them, that’s a bottom-up process,” Madore said.

“You’re silencing the Christi–, the citizens,” Madore quickly corrected.

He also suggested including input from “not only decision makers and elected officials who could be influenced by outside money but also … the citizens and business leaders” — a comment that elicited a collective gasp and groans from a large section of the audience.

Madore directly financed 10 candidates in November’s election and pumped more than $100,000 into his NoTolls PAC.

Later in the hearing, Chandra Brown, vice president of Oregon Iron Works and president of United Streetcar LLC, testified on the need for local jobs and urged the committee to continue the transparency of Buy America, a federal policy that gives preference to U.S. contractors on major projects.

Mica praised Brown for her specific examples. The Republican Congressman liked Brown’s testimony so much, he said he wished he could “put her in his luggage and take her back to Washington, D.C.,” to testify on issues.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA, later pointed out that the officials were only allowed to bring carry-on bags. None of them had checked luggage to take Brown back to D.C. in.

At the end of the meeting, Mica asked the elected officials in attendance to introduce themselves.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt introduced himself first. When people in the audience began to clap, Mica interjected.

“Let’s hold the applause,” he said. “I know some are more popular than others.”

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