When John Shimkus first ran for office in 1996, he pledged to leave after 2008 saying, “The longer people are in office, the more they lose touch with the people back home. Races become more exciting when neither candidate faces the power of an incumbent.” Flash forward to 2016 when he ran UNOPPOSED after years of facing increasingly less well-funded opponents.

Shimkus chairs the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and is a member of the Environment, Health, Energy and Commerce & Technology Subcommittees. Essentially all of his 2016 campaign contributions came not only from outside his district, but over half came from OUT OF STATE…to the tune of about 1/3 of a MILLION each from electric utilities, health professionals, & the pharmaceutical/health industries. Add to that almost $200,000 from the oil & gas industry, over $150,000 from lobbyists, and $100,000 from telecom services. So was he voting for us when he voted to allow internet service providers to sell our personal data without our consent? Was he voting for the 48,466 most vulnerable citizens in his district who would lose health coverage when he voted for Trumpcare? Or the opioid addicts who would lose addiction treatment? Does he vote for those of us who can’t afford our prescriptions? Faced with record setting hurricanes, flooding, drought, wildfires as predicted by climate scientists as consequences of our warming oceans, does he really represent us by voting for “clean coal”? In defense of his environmentally unfriendly policies, he posted on his website, “God said he wouldn’t destroy the Earth after Noah’s flood.”

When asked if he would seek reelection in 2018, his response was, “No reason not to.” So, Rep. Shimkus, I agree with your statement that long time politicians lose track of the people back home… and especially when they won’t even talk to anyone back home except groups of veterans & farmers in carefully selected settings. We deserve a candidate with enthusiasm for public service who truly represents all of his constituents.

Karen Clausing, Charleston

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