Robin Hayes is delegate to the United States Congress from North Carolina's 8th district (composed of Hoke, Scotland, Richmond, Montgomery, Stanley, Anson, and parts of Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Union, and Cumberland counties) (PDF map). Congressman Hayes is serving his 4th term in the US House and hopefully, for his constituents' sakes, will be serving no more as of 2007.
In 2001, Hayes screwed his constituents by voting for legislation that would remove the ability to negotiate trade deals from Congress and put it in the hands of president Bush—legislation that threatened to exacerbate the unemployment and poverty in his district, and legislation that he promised to vote against before he let himself be bullied into changing his mind:
But Hayes may pay a high price for letting the president break him down. It was so tough Hayes had tears in his eyes when voting for Fast Track. His district has an unemployment rate of 13 percent and just days earlier, a textile plant had closed and put 300 more constituents out of work.
"He shouldnâ€™t have been crying over the political ramifications for his career," said Billy Richardson, a Fayetteville lawyer and one of several Democrats considering challenging Hayes. "He should have been crying for the people of his district who have lost their jobs."
He did it again in with CAFTA. Hayes told his constituents that he was â€œflat-out, completely, horizontally opposed to CAFTA"—before he voted for it following a last minute meeting in the House cloak room with Republican leadership.
In fact, it looks like he feels more beholden to his party handlers than to his constituents. Hayes has taken contributions from (indicted Republican leader) Tom DeLayâ€™s ARMPAC that total $42,722. Hayes' votes in Congress have matched DeLay's 94% of the time (including the fast-track and CAFTA backtracks described above), an he has donated $1,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund.
Maybe Hayes isn't clear on who the representees in a representative democracy should be. It wouldn't be the only thing he's confused about:
"Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," Rep. Robin Hayes said.
Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, "I'm sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places."
Hayes, the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism, said legislators have access to evidence others do not.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said that Saddam was a dangerous man, but when asked about Hayes' statement, would not link the deposed Iraqi ruler to the terrorist attacks on New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.
"I haven't seen compelling evidence of that," McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN.
I spent a few years living in the 8th district, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that the people there deserve better representation, and I hope they get it ASAP.