Robin Hayes Doesn't Think Jobs and Economy Are Top Issues In the Eight District
In an interview published today, Congressman Robin Hayes proclaimed that supporting the agenda of big oil companies is his top priority. In the same interview, Hayes downplayed job loss and soaring unemployment in the district during his five terms in office. (Hayes says oil drilling is biggest issue, Fayetteville Observer, 7/28/08)
While claiming success at "fighting to not lose jobs," Hayes glossed over the economic devastation wrought by the trade and energy policies of the Bush administration, which Hayes has supported.
"For Mr. Hayes to imply that allowing oil companies to drill wherever they want to is his top priority is an insult to the 50,000 people currently drawing unemployment in our district," said Democratic Congressional nominee Larry Kissell. "That Mr. Hayes thinks allowing oil companies to continue to expand their wealth and influence is his top priority shows just how out of touch he is with the suffering of the tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed people who live in the 8th District. It is not the oil companies who need Mr. Hayes' concern for their interests, it is the people of the 8th District. And he has failed them."
In the article, Hayes also stated that expanding drilling rights to oil companies will help lower gas prices, a claim that energy industry analysts do not support. Gas prices have risen from $1.22 a gallon on the day Hayes took office to over $4 a gallon today. Hayes, who has consistently supported the agenda of the oil industry during his decade in congress, believes that drilling should be allowed in the Alaskan National Arctic Wildlife Refuge and on North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Kissell supports encouraging oil companies to drill right away on the land already under their control through previous leases. "Oil companies hold leases to 33 million offshore acres and another 35 million acres of land, most of which is in Alaska, and they have the resources and the technology to drill for that oil immediately. They should drill for that oil right now and we need to look at other forward-thinking solutions to lower costs and solve our energy crisis."
Kissell, a high school civics teacher and former mill worker, is challenging Hayes, a five-term incumbent Republican. The two squared off in one of the nation's closest congressional races in 2006, with Hayes winning by only 329 votes.
The Hayes Record, by the numbers...
* Every County in the 8th Congressional District has a higher unemployment now than it did in the spring of 2000.
* Three of North Carolina's 10 highest unemployment rates by county are in the 8th District.
* Scotland County has the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina at 10.3 percent.
* Richmond County has the fourth highest unemployment rate in North Carolina at 8.6 percent.
* There are now over 50,000 unemployed people living in the 10 counties that comprise the 8th District.
* A person living in one of those 10 counties is more than twice as likely to be out of work now as they were in the spring of 2000.
* The lowest unemployment rate in the district now (Mecklenburg at 5.6) is the same as the worst rate in 2000 (Scotland County, also at 5.6).
* The price of gas was $1.22 per gallon when Robin Hayes took office.
* Today gas prices across the Eighth Congressional District are in excess of $4.00 per gallon.
* Robin Hayes owns up to $23 million in oil company stocks according to his personal financial disclosure and has accepted over $175,000 from the industry for his campaign.