Nearly four years ago, Eastern Iowans sent Bruce Braley to Washington on good faith that he would listen to his constituents, represent our interests, and be a voice for Eastern Iowans. Since then, voters of all political stripes — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — have watched together as Bruce Braley, despite his ‘populist’ rhetoric, has grown further and further apart from middle class families right here in Eastern Iowa.
We’ve watched Bruce grow apart on the issues as he votes for Nancy Pelosi’s legislative agenda 98% of the time, including Obamacare which will insert government into the intimate health care decisions of middle class families, cap-and-trade which would increase utility bills for middle class families by an estimated 20%, and economic policies that have more than doubled unemployment from 4.6% to 9.5% and the national debt from $4.9 trillion to over $13.3 trillion.
We’ve watched Bruce grow apart financially as he now receives 88% of his campaign contributions from non-Iowans and only six constituents — yes, six — contributed to his campaign during the last reporting period.
With his most recent comments regarding the Ground Zero mosque controversy, it is clear that the disconnect between Bruce Braley and Eastern Iowans is widening. According to the Iowa Republican, Bruce Braley recently stated that a plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero, led by an imam with a history of making deeply offensive statements, is simply a ‘local zoning’ issue. Bruce Braley is legally and factually correct — this is a local zoning issue. But to many of us, it is more than that.
On September 11, 2001, our nation watched as Islamic extremists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, national symbols of the American economy and our military might. We watched our fellow citizens jump from the Twin Towers and flee the streets with ghost-like faces. On that day, we were all New Yorkers, and today we hear the echoes of September 11 emanating from Ground Zero.
It is understandable, therefore, that New Yorkers and all Americans would have concerns about a plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero that is being led by an imam who has stated the United States was ‘an accessory’ to 9/11 and that Osama bin Laden was ‘made in the USA.’
The issue is not whether the mosque can be built, as Braley suggests, the issue is whether the mosque should be built. The fact is, Eastern Iowans and all Americans have a stake in Ground Zero. And while I pledge to protect the religious freedom of all Americans, I also pledge to protect the freedom of speech to oppose activities that are insensitive and offensive to the vast majority of Americans.
To chalk this controversy up to merely a ‘local zoning’ issue reflects yet another total disconnect between Bruce Braley and the vast majority of people he represents.
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