Conressman Patrick McHenry represents NC District which includes Mitchell County where I now sit typing. McHenry was recently featured in The Crypt's Blog from The Politico for pushing hard against David Obey (D-Wis.), who as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has been reluctant to make earmarks transparent to the public. Here is a portiion:
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) was all over the House floor last week, bashingAppropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and other Democratic leaders for not doing enough to disclose member earmarks early in the appropriations process, as Democrats had promised when they took over the House in January. Republicans eventually got Democrats to back down and release
the earmark requests -- read "pork" -- earlier than Obey had planned, so McHenry got what he wanted. And now McHenry will be forced to defend his $129,000 earmark, via the Small Business Administration, for Christmas trees.
Actually, the $129K is to go to the The Mitchell County Development Foundation, "a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating jobs and strengthening the educational system, as well as
promoting tourism in Mitchell County." The "Perfect Christmas Tree" part comes in because in 2003, author Gloria Houston donated the rights to her children's book, "The Perfect Christmas Tree" to the town of Spruce Pine, N.C. Spruce Pine and Mitchell Country have thousands of textile and manufacturing jobs over the last several years to foreign competition. Mitchell County used the money to fund some small business jobs for woodworkers and other craftsman.
"Look, the important thing is transparency and openness," McHenry said when asked about the earmark, which he confirmed that he had inserted into the bill. "I have never been opposed to directed
McHenry added: "I just think that it's critical for members to know what they are voting on when a [spending] bill comes to the floor."
Update - This isn't going to make McHenry happy. Courtesy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee comes this little ditty. McHenry has been unofficially nominated as the "Republican That
Democrats Most Dislike," so it's no surprise this came out. The song is sung to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree." Here you go:
How steadfast your hypocrisy!
You pitch a fit on the House floor,
But Christmas trees you do adore.
All politics are local and this enforces that fact for me. Unemployment in Mitchell County for the first five months of 2007 averaged 7.9%, almost double the national average. As to me, McHenry just got a three base hit by:
- Fighting David Obey on earmarks
- Fighting NC District 10 and Mitchell County unemployment
- Being named "Republican that Democrats Most Dislike"
Update: A reader comments that I made false statements concerning unemployment numbers. As cited in the post my source was the NC Employment Commission and the numbers for Mitchell County (not Avery as the commenter used) were for Jan - May 2007 respectively: 9.1, 8.7, 7.3, 7.5, 6.8. Total 39.4/5 = 7.88 which I rounded to 7.9%. No intention to mislead on my part. Thanks to the reader for the comments.