Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican from Ames, says he’s "embarrassed" to be in Iowa this month after congress failed to vote to expand the land in America that may be explored for energy production.

"To make sure that we have American sources for American independence," Latham says, "American sources of oil, American sources of natural gas — because we have to make sure that we are not dependent those folks overseas today who don’t really care for us much, quite honestly."

Latham was not part of the handful of Republicans who stayed on the House floor last Friday after the lights and sound system had been turned off. The group staged a protest, giving speeches railing against Democrats who control the debate agenda in the House for not allowing a vote on legislation that would open more of the country’s shoreline to oil exploration.

 The U.S. House and Senate are now adjourned and will not reconvene ’til September. "I’m embarrassed because of what we did not accomplish and everyone knows that the number one issue in America today is energy independence," Latham says.

According to Latham, 75 percent of the American people support drilling in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts — along with other measures like expanding the production of alternative fuels. "What we have to do is to make sure that we create those jobs right here as Americans, that we become (an America) independent of their oil and their resources that we have to pay so much for," Latham says, "like T. Bone Pickens talks about the $700 billion dollars a year we’re shipping off to folks."

Latham’s also critical of Democrats from failing to forward more flood relief to the Midwest. "To me, it’s an embarrassment to be home here right now because we have not done our work for the American people. We have not done our work for Iowans, for the Midwest," Latham says. Latham made his comments Saturday during a ceremony to mark the opening of an office in Ames that his campaign shares with the McCain campaign.

Latham is seeking a ninth term in congress and faces Democrat Becky Greenwald the ballot in November.