By LtCol John Mitchel, USAF (Ret)
I recently visited Congressman Steve Austria’s tax-payer funded website and was astonished to learn that his #1 priority is “providing quality constituent services.” I would think that a Congressman’s top priority would be to protect his constituents’ freedom and liberty, not arrange Capital tours, gallery passes or White House tours. Although those quaint activities are nice, I’d rather see my Representative standing in the gap between his constituents and big, intrusive government.
Having said that, on three occasions over the last ten years or so, I asked for Steve’s help, and all three times he failed miserably. The first was five or six years into E-check, which you may recall as “cap and trade light” where our state government charged $19.50 to check our cars for excessive emissions. More than 95 percent passed, but then the government sold or traded the credits we earned to private businesses so they could keep polluting. Mr. Austria told me we needed to keep E-check because it preserved jobs, and of course he took credit for E-check’s demise when it died a natural death after the 10-year contract expired.
Then in 2005 I asked him to side with over 2000 Beavercreek folks who signed a petition to put a $14.8 million dollar government loan on the ballot to help finance The Greene, a private development. Our City Counsel sat on their hands while an unelected bureaucrat voided our petitions on a procedural technicality. Austria claimed he had no jurisdiction, but still took a $1,000 contribution in 2007 from the CEO for Steiner and Associates, The Greene’s private development company. (Source: www.fec.gov)
Then more recently I asked two members of Steve’s staff to shine a bright light on the cost of two mailings that looked like campaign ads paid for at taxpayer expense. Still haven’t heard from Steve on that one.
If you want Steve Austria as your over-paid Washington D.C. tour guide and full time campaigner, that’s up to you, but I believe the job is more important than that. We are at a crossroads and it’s time we put people in Washington who care a lot more about their oath of office rather than arranging complimentary tickets for Washington D.C. tours.
Note: LtCol John Mitchel, USAF (Ret), opposed Steve Austria in the 2008 primary, and is considering another run for Congress in 2010.