To the Editor:
The local radio station in Sylva, WRGC, has reported that the unemployment rate in Jackson County increased by one tenth of a percent from 7.2 to 7.3 in October.
Unemployed workers in Jackson County have received over $18 million in unemployment benefits since November of last year. And yet, when HR 6419 Emergency Unemployment Continuation Act came to the floor of the house on Nov. 18, Heath Shuler was the only North Carolina Democratic representative to vote no.
Rep. Shuler was the only N.C. democrat to vote no on other recent votes: HR 1742, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act; HR 1736 to accelerate relief for victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile (see www.govtrack.us/congress/votes).
It appears that these votes follow other no votes on bills that offer relief to citizens of North Carolina: HR 2749 (Food Safety Regulation Amendments); HR 1256 (FDA Oversight of Tobacco Products); HR 1 (“The Stimulus Bill”); HR 1931 (Hate Crimes Expansion); HR 3162 (SCHIP-State Children’s Health Insurance Program); HR 7081
(United States-India Nuclear Agreement); HR 4872 (Health Care Reconciliation Act); HR3590 (Health Care Insurance Law Amendments).
Is this what being “moderate and centrist” means? Is this what the citizens of Western North Carolina really want? I would much rather see a journalist explore in detail Shuler’s rationale for his no votes than the “love fest” article in a recent edition (“Calculated gamble, Shuler’s House leadership run thrusts him onto the national stage,” Dec. 1 SMN).
I would also like to see good definitions of moderate and centrist. If voting against initiatives that have the possibility of improving the lives of people — espeically children — is what a “big tent” means, then I want no part of it.