Smith is silent

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Congressman Chris Smith is exceptionally good at giving the appearance of caring about his constituents, but when it comes down to being a man of the people, it really pays to take a close look.

Much has been written about the Congressman’s decades long failure to hold a town hall. And a sign held by a woman at a recent protest outside a Smith fundraiser summed it up succinctly: “I was 2 years old when Smith held his last town hall.”

That young woman represents a lot of voters Smith is ignoring at his own peril. Against this, are many heartfelt testimonies of people who support the Congressman.

Ann Patterson Malsbury’s letter in your most recent issue is a good case in point. (Her father’s murderer escaped prison in 1970 and was located in Portugal in 2010.

Extradition efforts have been unsuccessful in returning him to jail in the US.) Smith reintroduced a measure, “ H.R. 1744: To direct the President to submit to Congress a report on fugitives currently residing in other countries whose extradition is sought by the United States and related matters,” which sounds like it might bring her family some measure of justice.

But, if passed, the bill only requires the President to make a report to congress. That’s it. Nothing else. It thas no teeth, and we already know where the murderer is – Portugal. The State Department has the best chance of returning the fugitive to justice, but Smith is silent in the face of a 30 percent cut in the State Department budget. So, what’s the point of the bill? Similarly, Smith is seen as a staunch advocate of autism and Alzheimer’s research, but he remains silent the cuts to the CDC and NIH that the Trump budget calls for. Smith also presents himself as an advocate of veterans. But he voted for a bill allowing veterans with diagnosed mental health disabilities to buy guns.

This in spite of the fact that 20 veterans a day kill themselves, mostly with guns. We veterans don’t need support like that. So it seems that after 36 years in Congress, Smith has mastered the ability to speaking out of both side of his mouth at the same time. That’s not what I am looking for in an elected representative. Are you?

Kevin Akey
Little Silver