A look within the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides a good sampling of the various letters to the editor that have appeared across the 12th Congressional District in angry opposition to Congressman Keith Rothfus’s vote against funding flood insurance for Hurricane Sandy victims without houses.
Christopher Hertneky of Pine says the following:
The millions of people and the thousands of small businesses devastated by Hurricane Sandy are being comforted by the words of U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus after his first vote in Congress: “My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The affected areas and families need relief.”
Mr. Rothfus, by being one of only two in the Pennsylvania delegation to vote against the needed relief, you have given a clear indication of your direction should a disaster impact Western Pennsylvania. As you have stated that “we in Congress should have worked to find a way to pay for this now,” I am hoping that you are staying in Washington during your break to find a way or, at least, thinking and praying for those who are in need.
Brendan R. Schubert of Brighton Heights also adds his discord:
U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus in his first nonceremonial vote, HR 41, voted with the nays on increasing the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay flood insurance claims for victims of Hurricane Sandy (“Congress Passes $9.7 Billion in Sandy Aid: Some Republicans Opposed Bill Fearing Its Effect on Deficit,” Jan. 5). It is a complete lack of compassion for one’s fellow man that the congressman and 66 other members of Congress are showing to the American people!
He used a tagline in an interview that his constituents sent him to Washington to cut wasteful spending. But, Mr. Rothfus, the wasteful spending will come on the back end. If we are not able to help our fellow citizens, there will be more foreclosures, employment assistance needed, etc.
This was an opportunity for the congressman to step away from the campaign and do something that helps the people of the country. The congressman first and foremost takes an oath to the Constitution and should think of the people of the United States first. I think it would be telling if the Pittsburgh region faced another natural disaster. Would the congressman be willing to vote for relief then?
The point, Mr. Congressman, is people are sick of politics not because it is nasty, but because our elected officials do not have empathy for their fellow man. I hope you do not sleep at night and that you think of the people who are without a home, who do not have power and who are living paycheck to paycheck in the hope of some assistance.
I know you are sleeping fine, because you finally became a U.S. House of Representatives member. It is not what you get in life, but rather what you do with it that counts!
Candice Jenkins of Ross offers her apologies to Sandy victims on behalf of her Congressman:
I would personally like to apologize to every family that was affected by Hurricane Sandy on behalf of my district’s representative, Tea Party drone Keith Rothfus. Mr. Rothfus was one of only two Pennsylvania congressmen who voted in opposition to the Sandy relief bill. I truly wonder if it had been Western Pennsylvania that was under water and in complete ruins, would he have voted against a similar bill to help us rebuild our lives?
Yes, Mr. Rothfus, you were elected to the House of Representatives to balance our nation’s budget, but you were also sent there because we assumed incorrectly that you had some semblance of a soul.
But it is Josh Zorich of McKeesport who, in an article titled “Way to go, voters,” hits the nail on the head:
I’d like to thank everyone in the newly gerrymandered 12th Congressional District (much of the North Hills extending all the way to Johnstown) who voted for Republican Keith Rothfus over Democrat Mark Critz. Rep. Rothfus is serving the GOP-engineered district well. In fact, his first vote as a U.S. congressman was to say “no” to Hurricane Sandy relief funding.
So congratulations and thanks for nothing, Tea Party enthusiasts and all-around dumb people alike; this is your reality. Sixty-six other Republicans agreed with Rep. Rothfus on this vote (including a certain recently failed vice presidential candidate). Way to pick ‘em, people.
I must admit that my own reaction was closest to that of Mr. Zorich. The truth is that we really can’t be mad at Congressman Rothfus for voting exactly how he promised to vote during the campaign.
Rothfus was completely honest with voters about his Tea Party positions, and the voters were enthusiastic about severe spending cuts and limiting the role of government. This is precisely what the voters elected Rothfus to do, and precisely what Rothfus promised to deliver.
Congressman Rothfus sees no role for the federal government, even in disaster relief. When Rothfus worked for the Department of Homeland Security during Hurricane Katrina, his job was to coordinate relief efforts by faith groups.
For Rothfus, it is the churches and synagogues (not mosques, of course) who bear responsibility for helping those affected by acts of God. The answer is Christ–not Congress.
Congressman Rothfus is a deeply devout man, ideologically and religiously. On this vote, he followed his faith and he lead with the values he ran on.
Rothfus takes the question “What would Jesus do?” very seriously, and he answers it correctly: Jesus would travel to the affected disaster areas and help the poor through personal action. Jesus would not rely on Caesar and his agents to rebuild broken cities.
Action through faith, not through the federal government, is what Rothfus promised the voters.
You can’t blame him for doing exactly what he campaigned on.
[Disclosure: I worked as the Research Associate for Congressman Mark Critz's campaign against Rothfus.]