Friday, August 1, 2008

A Kentucky Candidate Says No to Big Tobacco

Rep. Geoff Davis, R-KY4, isn't known for either intellect or political smarts. But by voting against federal regulation of tobacco when his Democratic challenger is a physician, he may have surpassed his own record of stupidity.

In response to Davis' vote, Dr. Michael Kelley wrote:

... So who would be opposed to a common sense idea such as FDA regulation of tobacco? Our current U.S. Representative, Geoff Davis. Once again Representative Davis has come out on the side of his big corporate campaign donors at the expense of the American public. He has voted against this bill which would protect Americans, and instead voted to protect Big Tobacco. In doing this he has voted for higher healthcare prices and for worse health for Kentuckians. (Kentucky has the highest adult smoking rate in the nation and 25% of Kentucky teens smoke.)

Davis claims that his ‘no’ vote was simply an effort to help the poor, overworked folks at the FDA, which “struggles to handle its current responsibilities.” How kind of him! But Davis and his ultra-conservative allies in Congress are partly to blame for the under-performance of important government agencies - since the conservative philosophy is to defund government until it is “small enough to drown in a bathtub.” Collapsing bridges, FEMA mismanagement, and an underperforming FDA are all linked to conservative distrust of, and under-investment in our government.

I am a practicing family doctor, and I see patients every day who are sick because of smoking. I cannot see how Representative Davis can stand to look at himself in the mirror after voting against common sense and the best interests of his constituents - unless he considers his true constituents to be his Big Money campaign donors. Geoff Davis’ voting record - one that proves he serves Big Money backers over the best interests of Americans - is why I chose to run against him. I can promise you this: if you elect me as your Representative, I will serve you – and never Big Money.

Read the whole thing.

If you don't live in a state where they grow tobacco, trust me when I say that in Kentucky opposing smoking, cheap cigarettes or Big Tobacco is an act of political courage. Although many Kentucky communities have banned smoking in public buildings and the amount of tobacco grown in the state has dropped significantly, opposing any part of the tobacco industry is still considered anti-farmer and anti-Kentucky, even by non-smokers.

Keep givin' 'em hell, Dr. Kelley.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.