Sue Thorn is a Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt kind of Democrat, one who comes to the political arena as a champion of ordinary working families, not so she can suck up to corporate special interests. That makes both political establishments in DC uncomfortable. And it's why, in a traditionally Democratic district in the northern third of West Virginia, Sue is on her own. Tuesday she'll be joining us here live for her Blue America endorsement and a live chat. Meanwhile, we had a strong feeling she'd have something to say about the GOP attempt to wreck the American regulatory system last week. (By all means, though; don't wait if you like what you read here, please consider making a contribution to her grassroots campaign.)
After finally correcting the typos in previous versions of the bill, the House succeeded Thursday in passing H.R. 4078, a bill designed to increase corporate profits at the expense of people’s health and safety. The original bill would have frozen any government regulation costing $100 million or more until unemployment rates fall to 6 percent. West Virginians were particularly interested in the debate because that wasn’t outrageous enough for their own local crackpot. David McKinley, the freshman Sue is running against in November. He proposed an amendment lowering that threshold to $50 million, a change the House stood behind in a 240-178 vote, although 10 Republicans found it too extreme and voted with the Democrats against the amendment. It’s evident that McKinley believes corporate profits and CEO bonuses can’t ever be too high, even when it hurts workers and their safety.
We asked Sue if she thought this was a good example about how voters could measure the difference between herself and McKinley. “An elected official," she told us yesterday, "should report to the people they represent, not super PACs and campaign contributors. Voting for decreased regulation for corporations doesn’t make you a friend of workers; it makes you a puppet for greedy industry lobbyists. And sponsoring legislation to bring in profits for coal companies doesn’t make you a friend of coal miners. It makes you a mouthpiece for the coal barons.”
McKinley has a clear history of expressing indifference towards the people he was elected to serve. Time after time, he puts corporate profits before clean air, drinkable water and safe communities. He has a consistent voting record of opposing regulation that protects the public from unfair, deceptive and abusive financial practices and always makes a nasty point of standing against collective bargaining. McKinley has demonstrated that he will always hide behind corporate interests and put profits before the people of West Virginia. Coal mining interests make up McKinley’s largest group of campaign contributors. Those in the mining and utility industries have already spent more than $360,000 on McKinley's re-election campaign, according to reports provided to the Federal Election Commission. Just 3 weeks after taking office, he introduced a bill that would benefit his contributor, Arch Coal, but put the water supply at risk for families that live near coal mining communities. And he’s also shown that he is single-mindedly focused on passing a coal ash bill that is incredibly dangerous for West Virginia communities, all to rake in profits for his campaign backers, all this despite protests from residents of the 1st district that have already been devastated by coal ash pollution. Sue didn't need any encouragement from us to keep going on how differently she sees the role of government.
“Congress must be accountable to the people. Representatives owe it to constituents to ensure we are protected from unsafe food, dangerous consumer products, hazardous work environments and predatory lending practices. Instead, House Republicans are focused on ensuring record profits for members of the profit-hungry top 1%.
“The Citizens United decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in elections was not only detrimental to society; it was unethical and wrong. As patriotic Americans, we have to get big money out of our campaigns for the good of all. Yesterday House Republicans made it clear they’ll do anything to keep campaign contributions flowing and corporate profits soaring while workers are put in danger. As a member of the House of Representatives, I will always support people before the profits of any company.”
Like I said, Sue will be joining us live Tuesday (2pm, EST) here at C&L. If you can handle it, please consider a contribution to her campaign here on our Blue America page.