I am a long-time resident of Aurora and I never paid a lot of attention to politics -- until I found out the hard way how much politics and my new Congressman, Mike Coffman, affected me. When I lost my job and couldn't find another one, I became very concerned with the politics surrounding unemployment. Times are tough for a lot of people, and it's important to find out who's on our side, the side of working people.
It is easy to see how some members of Congress are really trying to help. They gave tax breaks to companies that hired unemployed workers and supported extending unemployment insurance, to keep the millions of American families who needed help staying out of poverty some kind of safety net.
Then there are Congressmen like Mike Coffman who would rather vote down any bill to help workers just to try and make President Obama look bad. When redistricting put me in Mike Coffman's district, I tried to find him.
I went to his office in LoneTree (does anyone know where that is?). It's as far away from Aurora as you can get. I went to ask him why I paid more in taxes from my unemployment checks than his biggest campaign contributor, Wells Fargo paid in 2011. But Mike wasn't at his office. They said he was in Washington, but his office there didn't know where he was. When others went to his office to present him a list of over ten thousand people in his district that would lose unemployment if Congress didn't save them, he wasn't there and didn't care.
So where is Mike Coffman? How do you find him? Just look where big oil wants him to be! There was a hearing Tuesday in our state capital building on fracking and whether there should be comprehensive federal safety guidelines. Surprise, surprise; there was Mike Coffman defending the rights of big oil and gas, sitting on that panel. When big oil and gas need his voice, Mike Coffman comes running. So if you don't have the $160,000 that oil companies contributed to Mike Coffman's last campaign, you won't find him. He's not there for the 99 percent.
You can learn a lot about your Representative by who he talks to -- and as a new constituent of Mike Coffman, I can tell you he doesn't talk to us much.
In my opinion, we don't need a lap dog for big banks and big oil, someone who says whatever the party boys tell him to say. We need strong leadership that cares for and votes for us. I'd like Congressman Mike Coffman to learn first-hand what it feels like to be unemployed this November.