I worked in textiles 27 years. Now I don't. I teach school, praying my own kids and students can have some semblance of the life I and my parents enjoyed right here in some of the most beautiful country God ever created.
My opponent, multi-millionaire and mill owner Robin Hayes, still maintains his decisive flip-flop on CAFTA will make one of the poorest Districts in the nation and some of THE most unemployed counties in North Carolina, somehow better.
As the FREE people of Costa Rica go to the polls today to reject or ratify Hayes' singular shining contribution to American working families... Let's visit.
Let me get one thing off my chest right away.
I'm taking this glad-handing Bush crony down this time, but only with your help. You know I and some of the hardest working families on the planet appreciate your support against Robin Hayes.
That said, meet the Repulican poster child for lobbyist pressure and Bush arm twisting over OUR values, that I seriously need your help to defeat:
Robin Hayes insisted he would vote against CAFTA: "Every time I drive through Kannapolis and I see those empty plants I know there is no way I could vote for CAFTA," Hayes said. [AP 7/14/2005]
Hayes: "What does CAFTA sound like? NAFTA," he said. "It's not in the best interests of a core constituency I represent." Raleigh News and Observer, 7/14/2005]
"I am flat-out, completely, horizontally opposed to CAFTA," Hayes said. "What I was doing early on was at least looking and listening, to see if the improvements that we have begun to get in a whole host of different areas on trade were going to continue. And they have. But, given the nature of our district and the (textile) folks who have suffered there, (the Bush administration) has just not been able to do enough so that it becomes the right vote for the 8th District." [Charlotte Observer, 7/25/2005]
“Congressman Hayes is extremely pleased to create a fair and level playing field, but it still does not change the fact that CAFTA is not a good deal for 8th District businesses," said Carolyn Hern, press secretary for Hayes.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 7/21/2005]
Turning his back on the textile and apparel workers in North Carolina’s 8th District, Rep. Robin Hayes dramatically reversed his previous opposition to the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) expansion of NAFTA to become a deciding last vote that delivered CAFTA’s 217-215 passage.
Certainly not as dramatic as when Robin Hayes was the deciding vote on Fast Track Trade Authority for President Bush, claiming to his local paper he CRIED on the House floor as he turned his back on the the people he "represents," but just as poingnant, especially today.
You see, as David Sirota reports in today's Herald,
Costa Rica is not some war-torn quasi-colony but a longstanding democracy, "Central America's most prosperous economy and a model of social stability for the region," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Opposition to CAFTA exploded from every part of Costa Rican civil society -- labor unions, human rights groups, religious organizations, you name it.
The outcry was so intense that pro-CAFTA President Oscar Arias felt compelled to submit CAFTA to a national referendum, which will occur today.
See what's happening here? You couldn't vote on CAFTA. Robin Hayes and his lobbyist buddies decided it for you. Let's stay tuned and see what Costa Ricans decide today... but remember who's still in charge.
Now fearing a humiliating rejection of lobbyist-written trade policy on the global stage, the White House has dispatched U.S. Ambassador Mark Langdale to spearhead a campaign of intimidation, all on the taxpayers' dime. This Texas telecommunications and real estate businessman was installed as envoy to Costa Rica after dumping tens of thousands of dollars into President Bush's political campaigns. And like the loyal corporate crony he is, Langdale has been touring Costa Rica threatening economic reprisals if voters dare to send CAFTA down to defeat.
You can't vote on CAFTA today, but you can help defeat the man singularly responsible for it... Robin Hayes.