Bishop's Campaign says Keown's Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
I am shocked and appalled by the number of inaccuracies in State Representative Keown’s July 17th response in the Thomasville Times-Enterprise regarding Congressman Bishop’s signature (along with the signatures of 58 other Members of Congress) on a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer. First, I would like to set the record straight about Congressman Bishop’s voting record with respect to the voting record of Rep. Pelosi. Rep. Keown accuses Congressman Bishop of voting with Pelosi 97.7 percent of the time. This is an outright lie. Congressman Bishop and Speaker Pelosi have differing opinions in many areas, and his voting record demonstrates this. As a strong believer of “God, country, work, faith, family, and guns,” Congressman Bishop is starkly opposed to same-sex marriage and the desecration of the American flag. He voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in May of this year. He also maintains a grade of “A+” with the NRA, whereas Rep. Pelosi has a grade of “F.” Congressman Bishop is proud to represent the values and morals of Southwest Georgia.
Members of Congress are annually ranked by the National Journal. Prior to her tenure as Speaker, Rep. Pelosi was annually ranked, and in 2006 (the last year she was eligible for ranking; the National Review does not rank whoever serves as the Speaker of the House) she was ranked as more conservative than only 7.7 percent of Members of Congress. In contrast, Congressman Bishop was ranked as more conservative than 45.2 percent of other Members of Congress. With evidence such as this, Rep. Keown’s suggestion that Rep. Pelosi’s voting record is similar to Congressman Bishop’s is inaccurate.
Rep. Keown also mentioned H.J. Res. 45, also known as PAYGO. Despite Rep. Keown’s confusing and ambiguous comments about the resolution, the resolution requires Congress to pay for programs from money already on-hand instead of borrowing more money. This prevents the deficit from increasing while providing funding for crucial programs that benefit people across the country, especially the Second Congressional District of Georgia. The letter, signed by Congressman Bishop and the 58 other fiscally responsible Members of Congress, stressed the importance of this legislation. Adhering to his Blue Dog beliefs, Congressman Bishop signed on to the letter.
Rep. Keown consistently attacks Congressman Bishop for increasing the federal budget and national deficit; however, Rep. Keown consistently failed to mention his own spending record. During his tenure as mayor of the City of Coolidge, the City’s budget more than doubled at a rate of 111 percent from $124,000 in 1984, the year before he took office, to an increase of $261,840 in 1989. Likewise, while Rep. Keown was a member of the Thomas County School Board from 1990 to 2003, spending more than doubled and occasionally exceeded the budget; the budget increased by 110 percent over these years. While Rep. Keown may say he is for responsible spending and budget cuts, his record proves otherwise.
Furthermore, Rep. Keown inaccurately accuses Congressman Bishop of voting himself a pay raise. On April 27, 2010, Congressman Bishop voted for legislation to block a Congressional pay raise for Fiscal Year 2011. The measure, the Cancel the Pay Raise for Members of Congress in Fiscal Year 2011 Act (H.R. 5146), passed the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 402 to 15. The U.S. Senate then approved the bill the following day, and the legislation was signed into law by President Obama on May 14, 2010.
After the bill became law, as a political ploy, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) introduced a redundant amendment to freeze the pay of Members of Congress. This is the “pay raise” Rep. Keown says Congressman Bishop supported. The Bachmann amendment was voted down because it proposed action which was already law.
On the other hand, in March of 2006, Rep. Keown voted in favor of HB 1027, giving himself a pay increase. In 2007, Rep. Keown not only introduced legislation to extend his term to four years, but he again voted himself a pay raise, supporting HB 95! Ironically, Rep. Keown wrote in the June 4, 2010 Thomasville Times-Enterprise:
“Career politicians must think that they can hide their actions from the American people. … We all know people in Southwest Georgia who have lost their jobs. Teachers and state employees are taking days off without pay. In this economy no one anticipates a pay increase – except Congress. … Congress is out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent.”
Rep. Keown used these words to incorrectly describe Congressman Bishop, yet Rep. Keown’s own words describe his own actions. Extending term limits seems like the action of a career politician, and it was Rep. Keown who voted himself a pay raise (twice!), not Congressman Bishop. It was also Rep. Keown who tried to hide his actions from the American people, not Congressman Bishop.
In the future, I hope that Rep. Keown will double check his facts and his own voting and spending record before accusing Congressman Bishop of voting against the people and over-spending. Rep. Keown said, “People across this district are tired of being manipulated.” Once again, his own words describe his own actions.
Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-2)