Rep. John Shimkus Contrasts 2008 vs. 2016 Obama in latest Op-Ed: Come visit Galatia, Mr. President

COMMUNICATIONS • February 17, 2016

Last week, President Obama returned to the very place he began his bid for the White House in Springfield, Illinois. Ahead of his visit, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) criticized the President on his continued wavering stance on American-made energy. Catch highlights from Shimkus’ op-ed published in The State Journal-Register below.

On the President’s Wavering Stance:
“For the president, this trip down memory lane kicks off what will no doubt be a year-long legacy promotion tour. But for those of us who still represent our constituents in Illinois, it’s a reminder of how quickly that audacious young senator abandoned the interests of his adopted home state in pursuit of his own political agenda. … In 1997, state Sen. Obama supported grants to reopen closed coal mines and provide incentives to new businesses that use coal. In 2001, he voted for $3.5 million in loan guarantees to build new coal-fired power plants, even telling his colleagues he was a “strong supporter … of downstate coal interests and our need to prop up and improve the outputs downstate.” Fast forward to his 2004 bid for the U.S. Senate, and you’ll still find the future president standing with coal miners as he promised “there’s always going to be a role for coal” in Illinois. In 2007, the junior senator even cosponsored federal legislation to provide $8 billion in funding for coal-to-liquid fuel. … Just one short year later, as a candidate for president, Obama made his infamous 2008 pledge to the San Francisco Chronicle to “bankrupt” anybody who tried to build a new coal-fired power plant.”

On How This Affects the American People:
“Since reaching the peak of his political power, President Obama has not only left his downstate Illinois constituents behind, his policies have destroyed their livelihoods and devastated their local communities. … Last May, nearly 100 workers lost their jobs at the nearby New Era mine. Still reeling from those layoffs, permanent despair took hold when word came that the local mines would close forever by mid-2016. Before the first round of layoffs in Galatia, New Era and its sister mine, New Future, employed about 700 people. ‘It impacts everybody,” the town’s mayor, David Harrawood, told the Southern Illinoisan after the closures were announced. ‘It doesn’t just impact coal miners. It impacts trucking businesses, the stores, all their vendors. It’s not just one segment. Down here, we’re all tied together.’ So while you’re here, Mr. President, if you can find the time for those you left behind on your way to the top, come pay a visit to Galatia. Come and see what your policies have done to the families you used to represent. “

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