If Todd Platts wanted another term as the U.S. congressman for the 4th District, he probably could have one.

The Republican handily won re-election five times, garnering 72 percent of the vote in November 2010.

But Platts isn't on the ballot next week; he kept his word and is leaving the Washington, D.C., stage after 12 years in office.

Wish as you might, he's not an option.

One of the reasons Platts was such a popular politician around here is that he represented us well in Congress -- he's been a true reflection of the constituents in this district.

And for the most part, we're moderate -- despite the protests of the small group of 912 Patriots. That's the local tea party organization that harangued Platts during his final term for not being conservative enough.

But the congressman knew better. He represented all of the district, not just the loudest, and his appeal crossed party lines. One doesn't win 72 percent of the vote without a significant number of Democrats -- even in the 4th Congressional District.

There is a moderate of the Platts mold in the field of candidates hoping to replace him.

It's just he's not the Republican.

Democrat Harry Perkinson is the best fit for continuing the tradition of representing the majority -- both Democrats and Republicans -- who place themselves somewhere in the middle, rather than the extreme.

We can't comfortably say that about his GOP challenger, state Rep. Scott Perry, given some of the legislation he signed onto in the Pennsylvania House.

Perkinson knows his odds are long, and, if elected, he knows he has one shot to show he'll protect the interests of all his constituents.

He's pledged not to take marching orders from his party's leadership and has said he will not support lightning rod Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House if Democrats regain control. And in that event, he said, he also would suggest moderate Republicans for committee chairmanships.

"I'm not going to carry water for the party. I'm not going to go down there and engage in party politics," Perkinson said in a meeting with The York Dispatch editorial board. "I'm going to go down there and say 'These are things we need to address, and I don't care how we go about doing it. But we need to address them and get them done.'"

The Dallastown-area engineering manager has a firm grasp of the issues facing our country, particularly the middle class. And his business background allows him to offer solutions, rather than party slogans.

Congress is broken, paralyzed by partisanship. Its approval rating is in the toilet, and the members don't seem to care, never giving an inch.

Meanwhile we all suffer.

Since they're not willing to make a change, we're going to have to do it ourselves.

Don't elect a political soldier to reinforce the party line. Send an agent of change to Washington.