When Thomas Massie from Vanceburg ran for Congress in 2012 people thought he stood no chance. He surprised everybody and won. Since then people from the Fourth District have been watching to see if he would turn out to be the kind of Congressman we had come to expect. He didn't and now a challenge is likely.
In an article printed in the Kentucky Enquirer it was reported that Steve Stevens, former head of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is exploring a run against Massie and that this announcement brought a standing ovation from Northern Kentucky Business Leaders.
The people of this district have enjoyed a very close relationship with their congressmen. Jim Bunning was a hand's on kind of guy who took constituent services to very high level. He was engaged in the community, visible, approachable and though pegged as a tough guy, he and his staff were beloved fixtures showing up everywhere and interested in serving people.
Massie on the other hand remains a virtual stranger to most people except the small group of core TEA party folks that support him. He isn't a regular at local high school football games, doesn't mingle with the community, has basically ignored the business leaders and local leaders in pursuit of a private agenda pushed by the Ron Paul nay sayers in Congress.
His only appeal is to those people so fed up with government that they see Massie as their personal protester.
But serving the community isn't on Massie's list of things to do. Instead of representing the district, he represents an oddball ideology which is clearly out of step with the majority of the hard working families in the Northern part of the Commonwealth.
Even Geoff Davis, who began his tenure as a bit of a stranger, knew better than to ignore the people of his distict. He came to know the leaders that the people had chosen to represent them at the city and county and district level, he worked closely with business leaders and took a very strong conservative stand on the issues of greatest importance to his constituents.
But Massie by contrast spent his first few hours in the new Congress making enemies with leadership. His sole vote for Justin Amash to be Speaker of The House was out of step with every single other republican in Washington. But that vote was more than a vow of loyalty to the Ron Paul revolution, it was a slap in the face to the people of the Fourth District.
Not only is a new interstate bridge across the Ohio river a much needed upgrade to our nation's infrastructure, but it would bring millions if not billions of dollars in economic benefit to our community. Construction and supply businesses would prosper, jobs would be created and a new sense of hopefulness would rise with the bridge structure itself.
In addition, the bridge would connect the Fourth District with Cincinnati, the home of the current Speaker of The House, John Boehner. Massie's day one slap in the face to the established leadership in the House ruined any chance that he might have had to be effective, though it is doubtful that was ever part of Massie's plan.
Massie is so white hot devoted to his fringe ideology that he blew any chance of getting Boehner to support the bridge project and cast himself in the role of perpetual loser in the world of Washington political contests. Like it or not, Washington is about politics and politics is a contest of power where those in power use their status to reward friends and punish enemies. Massie's votes have made the people of this district the enemy so long as they vote to keep him in office.
The only hope for our district to get back on track is to make it clear that we acknowledge our mistake and find a speedy way to correct it.
Is Steve Stevens the right choice? I don't know yet, but one thing is clear, we need to end the error.