ick Boucher has been in Congress for 28 years.
Since defeating Republican candidate William Wampler in 1982 and Jefferson Stafford in 1984, Boucher’s seat in the House of Representatives has long been considered a safe seat. In 2008, he even ran unopposed. I don’t know about you, but I have always considered competition crucial for an election, and in turn, elections essential for democracy itself.
As a long-standing incumbent of 28 years, Rick Boucher has risen in rank to become the 10th most powerful member in the House. He serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. For someone with so much pull in Washington, you would expect him to be able to use his influence to help serve his constituency, the people of Southwest Virginia.
However, these past 28 years have not been prosperous for the people of the 9th District of Virginia. Rather than serve his constituency, Boucher has become a product of the Democratic party machine. In the past decade, Southwest Virginia has lost 18,570 jobs. It amazes me that Boucher has the audacity to claim credit for creating 5,000 jobs when so many more jobs have been lost during his term.
Also, the recent successes of the Republican administration’s efforts to create jobs in Virginia have placed further shame on Boucher’s track record. How is it that Gov. Bob McDonnell and his job creation efforts have managed to create 72,000 for the state in the past 10 months, while Boucher has managed a mere 5,000 in 10 years for his district? You would expect the 10th most powerful House member to be able to do better than that for his supporters.
The longer Boucher has stayed in Washington, the more disconnected he has become with his constituency. In a district that voted 59 percent for Republican John McCain in 2008 and 60 percent for Republican George Bush in 2004, you would expect to see more moderate policies from its Democratic congressman. However, Boucher has been far from moderate.
Boucher voted for and helped write the cap-and-trade bill that would devastate the 9th District, in which 80 percent of the electricity is produced by coal. The coal industry is an important job sector for a district with a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, The commonwealth’s rate is 7 percent. This district cannot afford to lose any more jobs.
Cap-and-trade would result in the loss of 20 to 35 percent of coal jobs. With a mere $34,506 mean annual income, the 9th District is in the worst economic state of any state congressional district. In the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, this legislation is catastrophic for Southwest Virginia.
Cap-and-trade would result in skyrocketing electricity prices and the loss of coal mining jobs. In an already declining economy, how could the people of the 9th District afford to pay their electricity bills?
You would think Boucher would recognize how terrible this legislation is for his constituency, but too much time spent in Washington seems to have clouded his judgment and he has chosen to side with his party in Washington over the people who put him there.