Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Pete Olson Goes to Richmond

Now I have it on good authority, because I read about it here, that CD-22 congressman Pete Olson will soon be making his way to the county seat of the largest and most populous county that lies within the Texas 22nd Congressional District, the district that he represents.

He wants to hold a town hall meeting at the McDowell Jury Assembly Building at 212 Houston St, in Richmond [map]. The meeting will be on a Tuesday evening, July 12th starting at dinner time, 6:30 PM and going until 8 PM.

Yeah, dinner time. On a work day. I am wondering if they want to limit the audience to those who make it to the early bird special at Luby’s. For the rest of us who dine watching the sun set, and want to attend, I don’t know if they’ll let you in with a bucket of KFC under your arm but if they do, just remember not to leave the chicken bones on the floor.

If you go, be sure to go armed with some questions. I hear he will ask for questions. Just make sure that if you want your question asked, you ask it with your own voice. Sneaky Pete is well known for having his staffers collect index cards from the audience – he requires that his constituents write their questions down so his staffers can filter them. Nice, huh? Can you say Banana Republic?

Anyway, one question I want to hear him answer is why he voted NO on HR 5618, the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act. This act, passed in the House by a vote of 270 to 153, extends the filing date that families whose breadwinners cannot find work can file for federal unemployment benefits and extends the date of the program until April 2011.

And Pete Olson voted NO. He voted NO while 29 of his Republican colleagues voted YES. They voted yes for Texas families. Pete voted NO.

Clearly, Pete Olson is out of touch with his constituents. Had he looked, he would have seen that his district is hurting. From April 2008 until April 2010 the unemployment rate jumped from a low of 3.7% to the most recently recorded 8.3%. Don’t believe me? It’s here.

That’s more than double the people who were unemployed a mere two years ago.

And it shows in the neighborhoods.

Drive through any neighborhood in Fort Bend County and you see the same thing: a growing forest of “For Sale” signs on front lawns. More go up but none come down.

And then another question that might come up is why Pete Olson voted NO on HR 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The measured passed the Senate (a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes) by 59 to 39, and sent back to the House to be reconciled in conference. That report is what Olson voted against.

Now, it is clear to anyone who hasn’t had his or her head stuck in the sand since September 2008 that it was an unregulated, greedy, and rapacious Wall Street that sold our country’s economy into the sewer, and it is also clear that the bill is nowhere near as tough in re-regulating these people as it could be, but these days you get whatever can pass the Senate and that is what we got.

And Pete Olson voted against it.

Pete Olson voted for his lobbyist friends and acquaintances on Wall Street, and against the people who live in the neighborhoods in Fort Bend County.

Now it’s not like we can do anything about it at the ballot box this year. The Democratic opponent he drew is one taco short of a combination plate, but at the very least he can be made aware of the fact that he is now on the firing line.


Olson needs 5 years in Congress to get vested in the congressional benefits package. We can cut him off with one year shy of that in 2012 and it is now time to let him know that is going to happen.

A guy’s gotta make plans, after all.

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