(Listening tour details! – promoted by blogswarm)
Perhaps one of the nation’s most corrupt political players currently representing us in Congress, Republican John T. Doolittle has made sleaziness an art form. During this last election, Congressman Doolittle did everything short of throwing a kitchen sink at Democratic challenger Charlie Brown: from calling him an “extremist” to trying to tie him to NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association for those of you not in the know) to sending out a campaign flyer insinuating Charlie was a Nazi sympathizer. Every accusation was completely unfounded and had the obvious stench of Rovian tactics, but somehow November 7th led to a very narrow victory for the Mormon Republican.
Now that the election is over, and Doolittle realizes the political reality that a majority of his constituents voted for someone other than him, talk is in the air that change is on its way. More below the fold…
This last week, Congressman Doolittle’s office released a franked mailer explaining Congressman Doolittle’s new desire to reach out to his constituents. Susan Crabtree of The Hill reported this last week that Doolittle is ready to take steps to get in touch with the voters who nearly threw him out in November. With all of his grand talk of “coming home, listening, reaching out,” you’d think that maybe this is one of those instances when the people have collectively sent a message to their congressman that had actually been received. This is unfortunately not true.
In love with himself and the money he and his wife rake in from campaign donations (not to mention special interests and lobbying groups), Doolittle was recently defending indicted defense contractor Brent Wilkes. “I’ve always said I don’t believe Brent Wilkes could be involved in something like this,” Doolittle said. “The behavior they’ve alleged about Brent Wilkes is inconsistent with everything I know about the man. I’ll be shocked if it turns out differently.” Brent Wilkes contributed over $52,000 to Doolittle’s Superior California Federal Leadership PAC as well as his re-election campaigns, and Wilkes’ private jet was used fly disgraced ex-Congressman Tom DeLay to a Las Vegas fundraiser for Congressman Doolittle. In exchange, Doolittle had helped push legislation to get Wilkes defense company PerfectWave a $37 million contract with the Pentagon that was not needed nor wanted according to Pentagon officials.
These statements are similar to the ones mentioning imprisoned congressional briber Jack Abramoff. On multiple occasions, Doolittle has called Jack Abramoff a “close personal friend,” and that he had “no clue” that the jailed lobbyist was up to shady business in the Mariana Islands and elsewhere. Doolittle received over $14,000 in contributions from Abramoff in what appears to be a scheme to stop labor and immigration reform in the Mariana Islands, and to this date he has yet to return or donate any of the money. As many of you know by now, the Mariana Islands saw horrible human rights abuses from the garment factory sweatshops owned by the Willie Tan Family, represented in Washington by Jack Abramoff. Sex slavery, cramped working conditions, sub-minimum wages and forced abortions have plagued the islands in the 10+ years Abramoff influenced the Republican majority, and change is only just now beginning to happen on those small islands under US protectorate. (here’s a link to a great piece on the subject)
So now Congressman Doolittle has plans to reach out to the 4th Congressional District in Northern California. He is holding six “listening sessions,” although it is not clear whether these are actual town-hall-styled meetings or simply informational reports to the public. It is also unclear as to whether Congressman Doolittle will even be present at all or any of the sessions, as his flyer states
“You views are important-please share them with the congressman and his staff at one of the following listening sessions.”
The Congressman is talking a big game, and his efforts are not brave or noble: they are the bare minimum requirements a congressman should be doing. All of our representatives should come back to visit the district as often as possible (and it would be even better if they resided in the district). There should be satellite offices throughout the district: one is not enough for a district that has over nine counties and covers over 100,000 square miles.
Luckily, we have a chance to demand more of Congressman Doolittle and his staff. Regardless of whether these meeting will allow questions, we must take the initiative to stack these meetings with people who want real answers to the problems that face this nation and this district. We want answers to questions like:
– Are you still in favor of constructing the Auburn Dam, even though your $1 million Army Corps of Engineers report said that the Dam could cost more than $10 billion to construct and structural integrity cannot be guaranteed?
– Will you return the money from Jack Abramoff?
– Do you still believe that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as stated in your debate with Charlie Brown?
– Why didn’t you vote for HR 2, the bill that will increase the minimum wage for working Americans?
– Why did you vote No on HR 3, the bill allowing stem cell research?
– Why did you vote No on HR 4, the bill that brings down prescription drug prices for seniors?
– Why did you vote No on HR 6, the “Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act,” when you claim to be in favor of alternative fuel research (including hydrogen development)?
If you are interested in attending the February Doolittle Listening Tour, the dates and locations are as follows:
Tuesday Feb. 20: Susanville 10-11am
Lassen County Fairgrounds
195 Russell Avenue
Susanville, CA 96130
Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds
Tulsa E. Scott Building
204 Fairgrounds Road
Quincy, CA 95971
Wednesday, Feb. 21: Placerville 2-3pm
El Dorado County Fairgrounds
100 Placerville Road
Placerville, CA 95667
Orangevale Community Center
6826 Hazel Avenue
Orangevale, CA 95662
Thursday, Feb 22: Grass Valley 4-5pm
Nevada County Fairgrounds
Northern Mines Building
11228 McCourtney Road
Grass Valley, CA 95949
Friday, Feb. 23: Auburn 2-3pm
Gold Country Fairgrounds
1273 High Street
Auburn, CA 95603
Gather a group of friends if you live in the Northern California- vicinity. If you live anywhere within driving distance, this is an opportunity to show Congressman Doolittle that he needs to truly listen to his constituents instead of paying them lip-service. If you are interested in attending one of these events, email me at [email protected] and we will get groups together to carpool!