What's a poor community to do when a congressional lone wolf can continue to hold up 1,100 desperately needed, well-paying jobs?|
It's hard not to feel helpless in the wake of the news that U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf has once again single-handedly blocked the $165 million sale of Thomson Correctional Center to the federal government.
If repeated efforts by U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., cannot sway the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science to release the money, which already has been approved, it seems more and more likely the empty state prison in northwestern Illinois will remain closed. The promised jobs will disappear from the Quad-Cities area, and the federal government will have to begin the costly process of siting and building a much-needed federal lockup.
Rep. Wolf reportedly opposes the sale because he doesn't trust the Obama administration to keep its word that Guantanamo Bay detainees would not be relocated there. In doing so he ignores the law which specifically prohibits moving foreign detainees to U.S. soil. Unless there's an empty or under-used prison going wanting in Rep. Wolf's district, or he covets a new one built there, it's hard to fathom what's behind his continued adamant opposition.
Maybe part of the reason is that the problems of people hundreds of miles away are of little concern to a Republican from a single district in Virginia. He could remedy that, of course. Rep. Schilling and Rep. Dave Loseback, D-Mount Vernon, have sent a joint letter to Rep. Wolf inviting him to Thomson. But given his continued intransigence, such a visit seems highly unlikely.
But their letter, as well as a comment from Rep. Schilling's Democrat challenger, Cheri Bustos, gave us an idea. "I would be camped out in Rep. Wolf's office until the sale of Thomson prison was final," the East Moline Democrat said.
While it would be impossible for either Rep. Schilling or members of the community to do so, there may be a way to bring our problems to his doorstep, without traveling to Virginia. If Rep. Wolf heard the tales of woe and the potential for economic prosperity behind the Thomson deal from those directly impacted, perhaps he would see that this deal is much more than simply a chance to teach the Obama administration a lesson in accountability.
If you feel strongly about the Thomson sale, why not tell Rep. Wolf why? Visit his Website at http://wolf.house.gov/contact-me2/ and click on "Contact me." Or Write or call him at one of his three offices:
-- 241 Cannon Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-5136, (202) 225-0437 fax
-- 13873 Park Center Rd., Suite 130, Herndon, VA 20171, (703) 709-5800, (703) 709-5802 fax
-- 110 N. Cameron St., Winchester, VA 22601, (540) 667-0990 or (800) 850-3463 in state, (540) 678-0402 fax
Will it help? Well, nothing else has, so it certainly can't hurt.
Geneseo, IL Details
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