(Not So) Fair and Balanced

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Today, I received an e-newsletter from my opponent, Congressman Lamar Smith. On the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act, he outlines the failure of this legislation with partisan sarcasm highlighting only wasteful spending in “The Top 12 Spending Lowlights.” Wasteful spending is a huge problem with our government, both during Republican and Democratic majorities and Presidents. We must have accountability for all these programs to assure there are not abuses.

But, as usual, Lamar Smith isn't telling the whole story of the Recovery Act. He omits everything related to our own Congressional District. He has left out the most important information for our own community…What has this Recovery Act done for us here in Central Texas? The highest amount of awards in Texas came into our district, obviously without any assistance from Representative Smith. $2,481,005,612.00 was pumped into our local economy. Our Congressional District also tops the list with the highest amount of jobs created in Texas from the Recovery Act, 20,500 new jobs, just in our district alone.I know that you've heard our Republican leaders say that we don't need that Federal Government money, there are too many strings attached. But actions speak louder than words, and they didn't turn away this economic assistance when they knew how much they needed it. The top recipients from Texas are The Texas Department of Transportation ($1,410,360,584.00), The Texas Governor's Office of Economic Development & Tourism ($685,067,516.00), The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs ($601,510,586.00), Texas Education Agency ($494,781,927.00), and the Texas Water Development Board ($493,479,770.00).

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the Austin and San Antonio region continues to benefit from low unemployment rates, only 6.9% in December 2009, below the State average of 8.3%, and well below the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December of 10%. In 2009, 697,252 people received their initial Unemployment Insurance payments in Texas, more than double the amount of unemployed in 2008. Tom Pauken, the Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, credits the Recovery Act with the crucial funding boost that immediately helped their agency to meet this challenge. He says that “Texas is now prepared to lead the recovery by encouraging the growth of private sector employment that will ensure Texas' future economic success.”

I am not a big supporter of the Recovery Act, or TARP, or any of the big business bailouts. Those were hard decisions that were not about being popular, or about getting re-elected, and there may be some consequences for those who voted for any of them, like Lamar Smith. But I won't use my position to tell you only the part of the story that my party wants you to hear. Voters are intelligent and it's time our Representatives treated us that way.

Please look at the information yourself, the data can be found at http://www.recovery.gov and http://www.twc.state.tx.us

Don't forget to vote early! It's time for your voice to be heard.

Lainey Melnick

Candidate for US Congress

Texas 21st District



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