A lawmaker#8217;s loyalties should not rest with corporations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I am writing in response to a letter by Mr. Larry Willming recently printed in The Ironton Tribune.

I always appreciate hearing from constituents, but I wanted to clarify a few points.

I supported H.R. 5351 — the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act — because it makes good common sense. H.R. 5351 redirects taxpayer money away from Big Oil and to alternative energy. Big Oil is enjoying record profits and doesn’t need $18 billion in government handouts.

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Small business owners have told me how much they’re hurting because of record gas prices. Gas prices in Ohio have risen 129 percent since the beginning of 2001 from $1.48 per gallon to $3.15.

Investing in alternative energy is something we should have done years ago so that we wouldn’t be staring $4 a gallon gas in the face. Instead, Washington — led by oil and gas men — put it off and invested in cheap foreign oil instead. Today, because of that lack of leadership, families are hurting.

I firmly believe that the families of my district, which I’m proud to represent, would rather I make the common sense investment in alternative energy and not send another $18 billion to the likes of Exxon, which posted more than $40 billion last year — the most profit ever posted by any company.

Instead of giving an $18 billion handout to the rich, I voted to invest in alternative energy and thus invest in families. Alternative energy technology will lead to more jobs as new industries are developed and to cheaper fuel sources which will help families more effectively heat their homes and run their vehicles.

It is true that H.R. 5351 only takes tax subsidies away from the top five profit producing domestic oil companies. I would have had gladly voted to strip subsidies away from more big oil companies, including Venezuela-owned Citgo, but to get both sides of the aisle on board we agreed on the top five domestic producers. Citgo is neither a domestic producer nor is it one of the top five.

Sending even more money to Big Oil will not lower gas prices — it will only swell already record corporate profits. That would be business as usual. This Congress is not about business as usual.

We are committed to taking this country in a new firection.


Ohio’s Sixth District