Attack was pathetic, desperate

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last week the Southeast Missourian published a paid letter by Bill Emerson's former chief of staff, Josh Bill. A day later, the publisher of the Southeast Missourian described the same letter as "repugnant." I'd describe Josh Bill's letter differently: pathetic and desperate.

Over the last few weeks, Jo Ann Emerson and her surrogates brought the worst of Washington politics home, resorting to personal attacks based on innuendo instead of fact. Over Memorial Day weekend, when Jo Ann Emerson attacked my 11-year career as a Special Forces officer by the false claim that I "never commanded anybody" and then refused to apologize, she offended every veteran in this district. Last week, when Josh Bill made his false claims, he showed the desperation within the Emerson camp.

Their desperation stems from knowing what we do -- that this district has declined economically under her watch and voters across Southeast Missouri want new blood in Congress. Like this newspaper, I am aggressively pursuing the truth about Emerson's public record, which is far from the mudslinging her camp supports.

What Emerson says on one of her Missouri tours is one thing, but what she does in D.C. is another. Emerson voted for the Wall Street bailout. Emerson is one of nine Republicans co-sponsoring a bill to bail out unfunded pension liabilities with taxpayer dollars. She voted for multiple trade deals that have encouraged corporations to abandon Missouri and ship our jobs overseas. On her watch, she's had a direct role in adding trillions to our nation's debt.

These are facts that Emerson doesn't want you to hear. She's filling up her campaign dollars with lobbyist dollars so that every other commercial you see from Emerson will be paid for by special interests.

Following the "repugnant" attacks of Emerson's camp, the publisher of the Southeast Missourian predicted a summer of bad politics. It does not need to be so. While many want me to fire back with a personal attack on Jo Ann Emerson, I'll hold my fire. Further, as a powerful media voice, the Southeast Missourian can play a more active role than a commentator. They can call for and moderate a series of debates, and ensure a more civil discussion of the issues. Name the times and dates, and I'll be there.

My own prediction is that Emerson's camp will continue as they have, attempting to distract voters with pathetic and false personal attacks, instead of engaging in real debate. They'll try to make this race about national party leaders instead of about local economic conditions. Emerson and her surrogates will try to scare folks into believing that somehow, some way, sending the same incumbents back to D.C. will produce a different result. They'll offer lots of empty words and few, if any, solutions to the huge problems our nation faces.

My plan for the summer is different. I'll continue to be out in the district this summer, meeting and listening to voters. In July we'll be doing town halls throughout the district's 28 counties. You'll have the chance to meet me and kick the tires. We'll offer not just solutions, but a plan. For this election is not about who I am running against, but what I am running for -- for our jobs, for our towns and for our future. Our home is worth fighting for, and I'd be honored if you'd join me in this fight.

TOMMY SOWERS, 614 N. Pine St., Rolla, MO 65402