Republican congressional candidate David Schweikert’s news conference last week had a serious déjà vu sense to it.
He appeared outside a Shell gas station to criticize Democratic incumbent Rep. Harry Mitchell’s stance on energy, which he said wasn’t doing enough to keep gas prices down.
Schweikert offered his “large pallet” energy plan, which includes drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore. Furthermore, he said his plan calls for more oil refineries and encourages development of alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass.
Flash back to April 27, 2006 — congressional candidate Mitchell stood outside an Exxon gas station to criticize Republican incumbent Rep. J.D. Hayworth’s stance on energy, which Mitchell said wasn’t doing enough to keep gas prices down.
Mitchell called for enacting anti-price gouging legislation, eliminating tax breaks for oil companies and shifting to alternative fuels such as ethanol.
At the time, Mitchell’s script closely followed suggestions that were outlined in a memo to federal candidates by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“Demonstrate your dedication to fighting for middle-class families by clearly explaining how you will work to keep down the price of gas if elected to Congress,” the 2006 memo stated.
“Hold an event at a gas station or other logical location where you call for a real commitment to bringing down gas prices and pledge that, as a member of Congress, you will fight for families in your district, not the oil and gas executives for which this Republican Congress has fought so hard,” the memo stated.
Flash forward to Tuesday — Schweikert correctly noted that gas prices and energy policy are old issues.
“How many people didn’t get to take vacations this summer because it was just too expensive?” he asked during the news conference. “If we don’t step up and fix this and go after our own resources today, we’re destined to relive this whole cycle again.”
For the record, when Mitchell and two other Democrats held their news conference 29 months ago, gas at that Exxon station was $2.99 a gallon for regular unleaded.
On Tuesday at the Shell station, it was $3.49 a gallon.
Schweikert said Friday he was unaware gas station news conferences were part of the 2006 Democratic playbook. However, the fact that he was able to talk about gas prices and energy policy shows that the Democrats failed to deliver on their promises, he said.
“This was genuinely important and it really was timely, but there is that beautiful irony that two years ago Congressman Mitchell did the same thing,” Schweikert
MITCHELL BACKS REPEAL OF GUN BAN
On Wednesday, Mitchell joined a bipartisan majority in a 266-152 vote in the U.S. House to repeal Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns.
Mitchell’s vote also makes himself a more difficult target for opponents to cast as a liberal, because gun rights generally fall onto the conservative side of the political ledger.
“I believe that responsible, law-abiding citizens should retain their ability to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Mitchell said in a statement. “This vote reaffirms the Supreme Court’s earlier decision to overturn the District’s long standing handgun ban.”
Washington’s handgun ban was first enacted in 1976, and is one of the strictest in the nation.
It prohibits the private possession of handguns in the nation’s capital and requires rifles and shotguns be kept unloaded and equipped with trigger locks or disassembled, according to Mitchell’s office.
In March 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned Washington’s ordinance. The city then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
KYL SEEKS MORE FUNDS TO FIGHT HOT WEATHER
Last Monday, Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl sent a letter to the chairman and ranking Republican of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging Congress to reform the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding formula before more funds are added to the program.
The program provides assistance to low-income residents who face difficulty paying their utility bills. To date, most of the money has been given to residents in cold-weather states to deal with heating costs.
In 2005, more than 97 percent helped with heating costs.