Congressional candidate Richard Carsner (NC-10) responds to what he calls McHenry's "pseudo" congressional field hearing today in Lenoir:
Congressional Candidate Supports Common Sense Solutions to Meth Abuse
Carsner Assails McHenry’s Grandstanding Approach
Richard Carsner, Democratic candidate for the US House (NC-10), supports all efforts to curb methamphetamine labs in North Carolina, but questions Patrick McHenry’s inconsistent efforts to address this tragically disastrous epidemic.
“This photo event today is a clear example of political grandstanding from an immature politico who just doesn’t get it,” Carsner said. “It’s a charade at taxpayer expense.”
“If he wants to promote himself as dedicated to ending production of methamphetamines, why did he vote to cut in half federal funding for local law enforcement?” Carsner asked. “His approach is short-sighted and irresponsible.”
According to the National Sheriff’s Association the FY 2006 federal budget, for which McHenry voted, had the following effects: reduced funding for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to an all-time low; reduced COPS hiring initiative funding from 2001 levels of $468 Million to $0 in 2006; and reduced the state Homeland Security Grant Program funding to $550 Million -- 1/2 of its funding level just one year before.
“In fact, if McHenry wanted to find effective ways to fight meth he could have looked closer to home,” Carsner said. “But the special interests in Washington and the $10,200 he took from the pharmaceutical industry in the 2004 campaign ma
y have blurred his vision.”
“While McHenry and the Republican Congress dragged their feet on meth laws, the Democratic legislature in North Carolina passed the first state law in the east that put meth-making ingredients behind the pharmacists’ counters.” That common sense law has already drastically impacted meth labs in North Carolina, Carsner said.
“But just cutting the supply of meth is a short-sighted, half-hearted approach, because it is only half of the problem,” Carsner said. “The other half is cutting the demand. To do that, the answer is to avoid crippling the country with debt, to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, and to provide effective services to give the working poor a leg up. We need common sense solutions that address the hopelessness and despair that drives people to seek escape in drugs.”
“Not only did McHenry vote with the Republican Congress to slash police funding to an all-time low, thereby lowering the chance to decrease the supply of this alarmingly addictive drug, he seems to have no interest in providing help for the victims of the meth epidemic -- users and their families,” Carsner said.
“The massive federal budget deficit that McHenry voted for is an obstacle to creating or supporting common sense, effective programs that target known risk factors in individuals and communities,” Carsner said. “McHenry has shown no interest in supporting existing or new programs that promote substance abuse prevention. In fact, he refers to treatment and prevention, educational aid, and anti-poverty legislation as ‘out-of-control entitlement programs.’ That’s just wrong.”
“Children are the silent victims of our nation’s meth epidemic,” said Congressman McHenry on his website. “And that’s one thing on which he and I agree,” Carsner said. “Primarily because of meth abuse, some states have shown a 43% increase in one year in the number of foster children. Yet the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress, with whom McHenry has voted 99% of the time, proposed cutting funding for foster care at the very moment foster care needs have risen to record heights.”
“With budget cuts to education, treatment programs, and losses of opportunities financially and educationally, what does McHenry expect to happen to the drug abuse statistics in this country? With the current lack of affordable health care, cuts to student aid and loans, a deplorable minimum wage, how does McHenry expect the addictive personality to avoid temptation? How does he expect the confirmed addict to quit a drug habit? Even if he funded enforcement adequately, which he does not, that’s only half the problem,” Carsner said.
“The bottom line is this -- our representative is content to conduct pseudo congressional hearings that he’s labeled ‘field’ hearings. A more accurate phrase for these so-called “hearings” could be ‘McHenry’s taxpayer-funded campaign appearance.’ ”
“I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this,” Carsner said.
“Undoubtedly, McHenry’s PR operation will feature photos from today’s staged event in the glossy materials he sends us all at taxpayer expense. But when we open his next slick brochure that we paid for, half the picture will be missing. He won’t include photos of those who constantly suffer from the budget cuts he so callously and hypocritically endorses at every opportunity.”