Cline AWOL on the environment

Last week, I emailed Rep. Ben Cline, R-Sixth District, and asked him what his stance was concerning the environment. I told him that the commonwealth’s agricultural and seafood industry was vulnerable to adverse weather and pollution and these affect thousands of jobs.

Within hours I received a four-paragraph, “canned” response telling me how President Trump’s trade policies would benefit American workers. The form I had completed online offered as subjects many issues from which to choose. I had chosen the subject “environment” from the list. I sent another email stating that his response had not addressed my issue of concern. As a former Master Gardener and environmental educator, I have worked with many adults and children in the areas of horticulture and have taught methods of reducing pollution and of improving the environment.

The commonwealth is taking steps to encourage alternative power sources, and I was wondering what Rep. Cline was doing to help at the federal level. I have received no further responses from Rep. Cline, and I don’t know if he is on the job or if he just doesn’t care about solving environmental problems and protecting Virginia jobs. If it is the latter, I suggest that he remove “environment” from his website as one of the choices as an “issue of concern.”

KENNETH G. SMITH

Lynchburg

The best of America

Among the many ways that Donald Trump has corrupted and coarsened American discourse, one of the worst is the line being peddled by his most shameless defenders. It is the lie that his behavior, while publicly vulgar, is what all politicians do in private, that they are all corrupt, that asking foreign heads of state to dig up dirt on Americans is par for the course, that all of this is “normal.” It is not.

TV viewers have had a chance to see what real patriots look like in the public testimony of three American Foreign Service officers: William Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch. They have honorably served the foreign policy interests of the American people during the administrations of presidents of both parties. They are not there to assist the political fortunes of the president. They presented their testimony about how Trump’s actions in Ukraine ran counter to American interests. As we have seen over and over, if there is an action that serves the interests of Vladimir Putin, Trump will take that action.

If these three represent the “Deep State,” I will take it in a heartbeat over the vile, corrupt, amoral and shambolic snake pit that is the Trump White House.

NEAL SUMERLIN

Lynchburg

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