|I was deeply disturbed by a recent official, taxpayer-funded email from Congressman Rob Wittman. In it, he says there has been much discussion on whether or not to provide free healthcare coverage for undocumented immigrants who come into the United States. According to the congressman, this is the main topic his constituents are talking about in the 1st District.
I am out and about in the 1st District talking to people far, far more than Congressman Wittman. “Illegal immigrant healthcare” is not what people are talking about. When it comes to healthcare, Rob Wittman’s constituents are talking about how their congressman has done nothing to help them get better healthcare. In fact, they’re talking about how their congressman, as Elaine in Tappahannock put it, “screwed us over” by voting to end coverage for preexisting conditions.
Almost every conversation I have with the average working family in the 1st District is about how they hope and pray that their next visit to the doctor will be covered by their insurance (if they even have any) or that their next trip to the pharmacy won’t wipe them out until their next paycheck. THAT is what the people of the 1st District are talking about when it comes to healthcare.
The only person talking about providing taxpayer-funded healthcare to undocumented people is Rob Wittman himself.
So, I think the next logical question to ask is, “Why?”
Why the sudden noticeable turn to the far-right end of the political spectrum? Why resort to using outright lies in official communications to manipulate the people of the 1st District? Why are immigration and healthcare now his top concerns? We all know he has done absolutely nothing about either issue since assuming office in 2007. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if these were Rob Wittman’s top issues he would have actually done something about them during the 382 legislative days his party held majorities in the House, Senate and also held the White House?
Either he’s blowing up these issues now for political gain or he failed to do his job when he had the chance. Manipulative politics or poor performance – which is worse?
I know what Rob Wittman is up to because I read the same poll numbers he does. He knows he’s in trouble based on last year’s election results. That only compounds his problems because since he has no legislative record to speak of (he’s only managed to pass five pieces of legislation since 2007) he must start appealing to far-right primary voters if he’s going to have a shot at winning the governor’s mansion in 2021. I’m sure his not-so-secret gubernatorial run is why he refused to denounce homophobic and misogynistic remarks made last week by his close political allies. Sadly, that’s probably also why he didn’t even denounce the recent demonstration of the KKK in Hanover County in the heart of his own district.
I would suggest that if becoming governor is his goal (and let’s face it, that’s the worst kept secret in the 1st District) then he should either be truthful with his current constituents OR he should resign from office to focus solely on that race. Either way, he’s currently serving in Congress and his constituents deserve truthful communication from their congressman.
Let me be clear as well: we NEED Immigration Reform and we NEED healthcare reform (preferably Medicare NOW++). And I am more than willing to debate the merits of proposals for both of those issues. What we don’t need are lies for the sake of pandering to the far right and white nationalists that Congressman Wittman refuses to denounce.
If this is the political path that Rob Wittman is determined to take, then it’s clear he’s unfit for the office he holds. I thought Rob Wittman was better than this. I know our district is.
We deserve better.