UPDATED: In the 9th District, Griffith lauds court decision against EPA; Flaccavento signs “People First” pledge
Updated with response to Flaccaveno pledge from Griffith campaign.
The Senate and presidential races are dominating most of the headlines, but we’ve got three congressional races in Timesland this year too.
In the 9th District, Democrat Anthony Flaccavento of Abingdon is challenging freshman U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.
If you recall, Griffith defeated longtime incumbent Rick Boucher in 2010 largely by hammering him on the issue of coal and arguing that Boucher had sold out the industry by supporting so-called “cap-and-trade” legislation that ultimately died in the Senate.
Griffith has continued to be outspoken on the issue, targeting in particular the Environmental Protection Agency and its regulation of coal plants.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in West Virginia threw out EPA regulations on water quality in Appalachian mining areas, saying that the agency had overstepped its authority under federal water protection and strip mining laws.
Griffith issued this statement in response:
“This is a major victory for coal miners and mining. As I’ve said in the past, and the court ruled today, the EPA was overstepping its statutory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). The EPA’s conductivity guidance was unscientific and harmful to mining. I’m glad to see that it’s unlawful. Like so many other permits issued under the CWA, these conductivity requirements were reckless regulations that served only as a threat to businesses in the Ninth District. The EPA should abandon its war on coal and redirect its energies to looking at scientific data that might lead to solving real problems for people living near mines. It’s my hope that more victories like the one we had today will continue to get the EPA off our backs.”
Meanwhile, the Flaccavento campaign challenged Griffith to sign the “People First” pledge, with campaign spokesman Dave Miranda arguing it’s necessary “necessary given H. Morgan Griffith’s reliance on large donations and contributions from outside of Virginia to finance his campaign.”
“I’ve put the people of the Ninth District first throughout my career as a family farmer and small business owner,” said Flaccavento in a news release, “so signing this pledge was an obvious choice. I encourage my opponent to join me, for the good of the district and the nation, especially in light of who has been giving him money.”
Griffith campaign manager Matt Moran responded: “The pledge inherently describes the job of being Congressman. Obviously, Congressman Griffith has spent the last two years representing his constituents, their jobs, their interests and he is their voice in Washington.”
After the jump, you can read the full release from the Flaccavento campaign about the pledge, as well as the text of the pledge itself.
Anthony Flaccavento Challenges Opponent to Sign People First Pledge
Griffith’s War Chest 92 Percent Large Donations
ABINGDON, Va., July 30, 2012 – Anthony Flaccavento, candidate for Congress from Virginia’s Ninth District, today challenged his opponent H. Morgan Griffith to sign the People First Pledge and promise to put the people of southwest Virginia ahead of the Tea Party, large corporations and billionaires.
“I’ve put the people of the Ninth District first throughout my career as a family farmer and small business owner,” said Mr. Flaccavento, “so signing this pledge was an obvious choice. I encourage my opponent to join me, for the good of the district and the nation, especially in light of who has been giving him money.”
According to campaign donation tracking site OpenSecrets.org, 92 percent of Mr. Griffith’s fundraising consists of large donations, including money from billionaires and large corporations. Additionally, more than half of the large individual donations he has received come from outside the commonwealth, from states such as Illinois and New York.
During his two years in Congress, Mr. Griffith has consistently voted to cut taxes for the wealthy while cutting benefits for the middle class and seniors.
“I’m running to work for the people of southwest Virginia,” added Mr. Flaccavento. “I will always put them first – before myself, before my party and before special interests. I challenge my opponent to reverse his record of the past two years and sign this pledge to put the voters first. It’s the right thing to do.”
Anthony Flaccavento is a candidate for Congress from Virginia’s Ninth District. He is a family farmer and small business owner from Abingdon, in the heart of the district. Anthony has spent the last three decades working to promote economic development and sustainable farming practices in southwest Virginia. Please visit www.afor9.com for more information.
The People First Pledge
Voters throughout the country are tired of politicians putting their own political ambitions, their party and special interests ahead of their constituents. The resulting hyperpartisanship and gridlock prevent our leaders from taking steps to improve lives for the people they represent and all Americans.
Billionaires and corporate interests have hijacked the political process, resulting in a me-first, people-last mentality among our elected officials. This perverts our democracy and removes the government from its bosses: the American people.
Good public servants can reverse this process by pledging to consider their constituents first and foremost in all decisions they make. We urge all elected officials and candidates for office to sign the People First Pledge:
As an elected official, I pledge to put the needs of my constituents ahead of all other considerations, including the demands of my political career, my party, special interests and large corporations. I pledge to put people first.
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