March 28, 2011
"His tenure appears to have fallen flat as far as generating any real progress for the poor, disadvantaged and sick people in his own county," said Wilmington resident Del Pietro of current U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre.
Robeson County is where McIntyre keeps his residence, and Pietro says if he's not taking care of the home folks, he is not taking care of business.
"The first thing you should do in politics and business is benchmark," advises Pietro, 38, an announced candidate to challenge McIntyre in the 2012 Democratic primary.
Redistricting, though, which will be shaped within the coming few weeks, could change a lot of things. It's not clear what the Seventh District will look like after a GOP-dominated redistricting committee finishes its work. Candidate match-ups, district boundaries, and even party switching make the whole scenario fluid and dynamic.
Pietro has long talked of challenging McIntyre. He can do that even if McIntyre's home County of Robeson is carved out of the Seventh District and placed in an adjoining District, such as the Eighth -- which makes sense to many observers.
Robeson is where McIntyre votes, so he has the responsibility -- or blame -- for much of what happens there in terms of opportunity and quality of life. It's not a situation he brags about.
"If you take a look at what the economics and the health statistics were in Robeson County, his home county, when he took office, until now, these benchmarks haven’t improved one bit," Pietro asserts. "We just have to wait until the new census figures come out to prove what is my assumption -- that the situation has probably even worsened on Mr. McIntyre's watch."
According to Democrat challenger Pietro, a family man and resident of Wilmington, McIntyre gets low marks for leadership, low ratings for planning and execution -- both required in order to change the fate of people in his county and district.
"The most astounding thing is that Congressman McIntyre has no plan, and never has had a plan, for the future of his own District. I’ve never seen one and nobody knows of one. So he doesn't have an idea which way to go, and can be accurately described as totally reactionary,"
McIntyre describes himself as a conservative, but Pietro charges that he votes in the conservative column just enough to get re-elected in his District, where this stance plays well.
"We have here an opportunist who does just enough to get elected," Pietro commented. "He knows the liberals in the district are going to vote for him no matter what. So he appeases conservatives every now and then by throwing them a bone, such as his vote to repeal health care. And nobody calls him out. It's shameful."
Congressman McIntyre will host a "Job Creation Summit" on Tuesday, March 29, from 10:00 am to 12 noon at the Cape Fear Community College north campus, 4500 Blue Clay Road in Castle Hayne. The event is free and open to the public.
Candidate Pietro is not impressed.
"It's just another photo op, doesn't stand a chance of accomplishing anything for the unemployed, under-educated, sick and impoverished people in his district. This should have taken place ten years ago," said Pietro.
"Robeson County is right at the top of the heap when it comes to need, and right at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to any hope of eventually climbing out.
That's not going to change under a Congressman whose claim to fame is bringing in a new firetruck or a few loads of sand," Pietro concluded.
Del Pietro said he will attend McIntyre's job creation summit on Tuesday. "I'm looking for a job too -- representing the Seventh District in the U.S. Congress," Pietro said.