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Rep. Meadows ousted from chairmanship

fr meadowsU.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Cashiers, recently paid the political price for not toeing his party line.

Meadows was removed as chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations last Saturday by Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform, for voting against a party-line motion on June 11. 

“This action is the consequence of my no vote, but it’s a price I gladly pay,” Meadows said in a phone interview Tuesday from his Washington, D.C., office. “I made a commitment to the people of Western North Carolina to represent them and listen to them and side with them when voices here in Washington, D.C., conflict with the voices in Western North Carolina.”

Meadows was one of 34 Republican congressmen who went against House Speaker John Boehner’s directive and voted against a trade deal that would give President Obama expanded powers. This was the second time Meadows has challenged Boehner’s leadership — Meadows voted against Boehner for House Speaker back in January.  

Chaffetz’s action to remove Meadows from his chairmanship occurred just one day after Meadows was in Haywood County leading a Congressional field hearing regarding an undercover sting to target bear poaching. Meadows was serving in his capacity as subcommittee chairman at the hearing on June 19 as he questioned wildlife officers about the tactics used during Operation Something Bruin. 

After hearing numerous complaints from hunters in his region, Meadows called for the hearing to get to the bottom of the investigation. Meadows said he is determined to represent his constituency and make sure hunters weren’t entrapped by government agencies. 

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“The great thing about people of Western North Carolina is that they are salt of the earth people. And when you stick up for people who are your friends and neighbors they appreciate it,” he said. 

Meadows will continue to serve on the committee and will continue to work on the Operation Something Bruin investigation behind the scenes. 

“This was more about (Republican) leadership trying to punish me for bucking their directives more than my work on the committee,” Meadows said. “They know I’ve been one of the most active members on the subcommittee.” 

Since the field hearing, Meadows has already been working with committee staff to follow up on requests for additional documentation from federal and state agencies. His staff is sending out a letter to the U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to request documentation about the agencies’ procedures and tactics they employed and money they spent on the investigation. It’s documentation the agencies have agreed to give and they will have 30 days to respond to the letter. 

With six other committee assignments, including two subcommittees for transportation and two for foreign affairs, Meadows said he doesn’t have time to feel sorry for himself.

“It really puts it in perspective to know in the last few days I’ve had to make two phone calls — one to someone who lost their sister in the Charleston shooting and another to someone who lost a sister to a drunk driver,” Meadows said. “So if all I lost was a subcommittee assignment, I still consider myself a blessed man.”

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