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Why I Absolutely Will NOT Be Supporting Derek Hyra for Congress in the 8th CD

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I’m following the 8th CD Democratic primary campaign closely, looking at what candidates have to say, what kind of campaigns they’re putting together, etc. This past Wednesday, I noticed that one candidate – Derek Hyra – was rolling out “the Team Behind Hyra 2014” on his Facebook page. Naturally, I was interested to see who was on board with him, especially since he has never been an elected official and therefore has no voting record on public policy issues. One really jumped out at me, since the organization he works for – the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) – is opposed to pretty much everything progressives believe in.

*Dr. Chad Moutray, Ph.D. – Economic Policy

Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers. According to the Federal Elections Commission, Moutray donated $250 to the Romney/Ryan campaign in 2012. In 2011, Moutray issued this declaration in a case against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson et al., in which two environmental groups (Kids vs. Global Warming and Wildearth Guardians) sued the government for not taking strong enough action against climate change.

The lawsuit sought “declaratory and injunctive relief for Defendants’ alleged failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Moutray and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) complained that plaintiffs “appear to be seeking to force the complete elimination of the use of conventional fossil fuels in the United States and a nationwide ‘transition to an almost fully renewable energy system by at least 2050.'”

I know, that would be horrible, wouldn’t it? (snark) Actually, it WOULD be horrible to the folks Moutray represents, namely (in his words) “leading members of the coal, oil and natural gas sectors, petroleum refiners, and petrochemical producers,” many of whom “directly emit greenhouse gases either as a product of their manufacturing processes or through the combustion of fuels at their facilities.”

In short, these companies are the worst of the worst when it comes to trashing our planet. We’re talking about an organization whose board includes companies like ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, nadarko Petroleum, Shell Oil, Sempra Energy, American Electric Power, Koch Companies, BP America, ConocoPhillips, Arch Coal, etc. In addition, SourceWatch identifies the American Petroleum Institute and Koch Industries, among others, as part of NAM. SourceWatch also notes that NAM is so bad that in “2009, Duke Energy, which operates scores of coal-fired power plants in the Southeast and Midwest, would not be renewing its membership due to NAM’s refusal to address global warming,” and based on its view that “quite frankly, I don’t see them changing.”

The bottom line is that NAM’s a nightmare if you care in the least bit about the environment. And Mr. Moutray represents these folks, arguing against taking any serious action on climate change, because supposedly it would cause the fossil fuel companies he represents to (in his words) “find new lines of business in order to survive and/or move their operations to other countries that do not impose similar restrictions and controls on conventional fuels.” It’s a complete load of crap, of course, but it’s not surprising coming from a bunch of companies who profit off of raping and pillaging the planet, and who are doing all they can to prevent the rapid scaling-up of a clean, sustainable-energy economy based on efficiency, solar, wind, etc.  

As if all that’s not bad enough, Mr. Moutray’s Twitter feed indicates that he’s a big-time Republican who, among other things, bought into the conspiracy theory that pollsters were skewing their results in the 2012 election “to sample more favorably for Dems;” believes that “Obamacare will probably downsize the workforce;” retweeted the heinous Erick Erickson (e.g., “Dems who want the law known as sequestration changed tell us Obamacare can’t be changed because it’s the law.” and “The lefties in my timeline are exceedingly angry.  A good sign for Romney.”); retweeted a headline about Justice Antonin Scalia saying that “Reading entire #healthcare bill would be cruel and unusual punishment;” retweeted John McCain that Paul Ryan “is an outstanding selection- he’s fully prepared to address our economic challenges that have only worsened under Obama-Biden;” was clearly a big Ken Cuccinelli supporter (and McAuliffe hater) last year; etc.

Yet somehow, Mr. Moutray has ended up being named as a key member of what Derek Hyra calls “the Team Behind Hyra 2014,” one of the “talented and inspiring folks” he’s “blessed to be working with.” To me, that’s disturbing, as presumably if Hyra were elected to Congress, Moutray would be a top advisor to him on economic policy. Given that Moutray is a hard-core Republican and defender of some of the worst polluting industries on the planet, that’s simply not acceptable, and certainly not from the progressive, deep-“blue” 8th CD!

I asked Hyra about Moutray’s views on carbon emissions, “Obamacare,” Ken Cuccinelli, etc., and got the following non-responsive response:

I support increasing and improving health care access and quality for all Americans and will fight for these values in Congress. These principles that undergird the Affordable Care Act are something most Americans agree on but we need to ensure that we execute on these ideals in a way that makes sense and benefits our country as a whole. In Congress, I will fight to improve our health care system to live up to these ideals. It is through honest and open debate and dialogue with people of diverse views that we will make progress on health care and other issues.

Note, nothing about why Mr. Moutray is Hyra’s top “Economic Policy” advisor. Ugh. Frankly, that’s enough right there for me to disqualify Derek Hyra from consideration for the 8th CD nomination, especially given that we’ve got several proven progressives in the race. But just as an added “bonus,” here’s another key member of Hyra’s team.

*Chris Ballard – Finance Committee

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Ballard has donated $1,000 since 2008 to Virginia Republicans (including $500 to Bob McDonnell), and zero to Democrats. And according to the Federal Elections Commission, Ballard has donated $3,000 to Paul Ryan and $3,000 to George W. Bush.

Anyway, that’s about all I need to know about Derek Hyra for Congress. Needless to say, I won’t be supporting him and hope that no 8th CD Democrats will do so either.