My district is represented by one of the most doctrinaire, vile POS wingnuts in the Congress, Ernest Scott Garrett. Garrett gained his seat through sheer perseverence and has retained it because I live in a district where voters don't pay attention and because the opposition has been one weak candidate after another.
New Jersey's Fifth District was represented by Marge Roukema for 25 years. Roukema was an Olympia Snowe type of Republican -- you know, the kind that would be drummed out of the party today for ideological impurity. But for most of the time she served, the Christofascist Zombie Brigade wing of the Republican Party didn't have quite the stranglehold that it does today, and there were enough people in Bergen County who voted her to offset the wingnuts out in Sussex County, where Ernie makes his home in the same neighborhood as the head of the NJ Ku Klux Klan
. Garrett ran against Roukema in the last few primaries of his career, and while he always came in a distant second, he at least got his name out there, so that when Roukema retired, Garrett was the obvious Republican standard-bearer.
NJ-5 is a largely Republican district, but most people are Roukema Republicans. The denser population of Bergen County that often decides these elections is of the "fiscally conservative, socially moderate" ilk. Yes, there are any number of evangelical and other churches in the district, but the six- and seven-figure Wall Streeters in the train towns and the guys who work construction in the others don't spend their lives thinking about how best to punish evil unchaste temptresses who won't keep their legs closed, or whether we should have more Jeebus in school. They're more concerned with the cost of installing lights on the school football field and their kids' test scores than prayer.
Voters in this district are largely party-line voters. If you get the party line in a primary, you tend to win, which is how in the recent primary in my town, a ticket which wasn't run by the entrenched cronies in town defeated the choice of the outgoing mayor who had been in power for nearly three decades. Our voting machines are of the full-screen variety, which means that an entire slate is visible at one time. Voters tend to press the buttons down the line of their chosen political party without thinking. And that is how Ernie Scott Garrett stays in office. If people actually paid attention to what he stands for and how he votes, they'd be horrified. Here is what he voted against yesterday
Key provisions of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, approved by the House on Thursday:
Inspections Food and Drug Administration inspections of food facilities would increase from about once every 10 years to at least annually for high-risk facilities and at least once every three years for facilities deemed a low risk. FDA inspectors will have access to company records.
Registration Food processors, importers and other food handlers must register annually with the FDA and pay a yearly fee of $500 for each food facility.
Recalls The FDA could mandate the recall of tainted foods, instead of relying on food makers to pull items voluntarily.
Safe practices For the first time, the FDA could set standards for safe production of food on farms, as well as require food manufacturers to meet safety standards.
Imports Those importing food to the United States must meet the same safety standards as domestic food producers.
Traceability The secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to identify technology that can be used by food growers, manufacturers and distributors to determine the origin of food and its movement in the supply chain.
Yes, one of the biggest fetophiles in Congress is perfectly OK with children (and pregnant women, for that matter) eating tainted foods.
For those interested in this Congressional POS, the best resource is Matt Fretz
, who ran for Garrett's seat as an Independent in 2006, and was often met by voters asking him why he was "running against Marge." Matt is a Roukema Republican, and is utterly disgusted with Ernie Scott Garrett.
Labels: food industry, House Republicans, wingnuttia