Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rep. Gerlach issues open letter to challenger Bob Roggio

The Jim Gerlach for Congress Committee issued the following press release late Tuesday in response to a terse statement released earlier in the day by Democratic challenger Bob Roggio regarding the death of Congressman Gerlach's mother. (For background, read my earlier posts, "Egg on his face, Roggio sends condolences but no apology to Gerlach" and "Bob Roggio owes Jim Gerlach an apology."
(Glenmoore, PA) - "Roggio's attacks yesterday against Congressman Jim Gerlach and his failure to apologize after learning of the Congressman's tragic loss, seriously call into question Mr. Roggio's ability to conduct himself honorably. Beyond this, the Congressman's letter speaks for itself," said Gerlach spokesman Mark Campbell.

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6) issued the following open letter today to Democrat opponent Bob Roggio.

Mr. Robert Roggio
9 Old Lincoln Highway
Suite 101
Malvern, PA 19355

Dear Bob,

In my 18 years of public service, I have worked extremely hard, seven days a week many times, to meet, understand and work on behalf of the constituents I have represented. I have attended and voted in legislative sessions in Harrisburg and Washington, DC at a near 100 percent rate. Only constituent, health or family reasons have prevented me from voting in session every day of my tenure.

So it was with great disappointment and sadness that I read your recent release attacking me for not voting last week on important war, veterans and agriculture legislation. Had you simply contacted House staff, you would have learned that I was in Clarion, Pa., last week to be with my 79-year old mother during her last days and ultimate passing on May 14th. Had you known my mother, our family and her unbelievable life story, I think you would have understood and supported my absence. Here's who she was -

She was widowed at age 32 when my dad was killed in an auto accident. She was left with 3 children, age 7, 5, and 6 weeks, and she immediately went to work to raise us with the values of honesty, determination, perseverance, and individual responsibility. Through her incredible work ethic, she managed to provide us with a loving home, a week's vacation each year, and ultimately a college education. Her approach was to give us kids "love, roots and wings" and words cannot capture the deep love, respect, and admiration my sisters and I have for her.

Unfortunately, Americans are now living through an era of the "permanent campaign" and constant "gotcha" politics. But despite this very divisive time, there is no place whatsoever, at any time, for one political candidate to use the personal family crisis of his opponent for political gain or advantage.

It is my understanding that, after your initial attack release and acquiring a knowledge of why I didn't attend session last week, you issued a second release that contained no apology for your attack or even a simple acknowledgement that you were wrong to attack me under these circumstances. Consequently, given your behavior, I would encourage you to re-examine exactly why you are running for public office and whether you have the judgment to properly represent the great Sixth Congressional District.

Thank you.

Jim Gerlach

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