On a crazy Election Night — both locally and on the national scene — one thing has remained constant: Harold “Hal” Rogers is the Fifth Congressional District Representative.
Despite Pulaski County’s late entry into the vote totals, Rogers won his race against Democratic challenger Kenneth Stepp early in the night Tuesday. Outside of Pulaski County, Rogers garnered 191,002 votes against Stepp’s 52,528. That’s 78 percent against 21 percent.
In Pulaski, Rogers’ home county, the numbers were even more heavily weighted in Rogers’ favor, as the 32-years-in-service Republican U.S. Rep. won 83 percent to 17 percent, or 20,880 votes against 4,274 for Stepp.
“I’m flattered that (my constituents) placed their confidence in me for another two years,” said Rogers. “It’s a huge margin of victory of which I’m eternally thankful.
“We worked together through the 30 counties of this district to clean it up with PRIDE (the environmental organization), to fight the drug problem with UNITE (the anti-drug organization), to improve business and industry through The Center for Rural Development, as well as reforming education through Forward in the Fifth.”
Rogers also said that he hoped and expected to continue as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which controls funding distribution for federal spending projects. Rogers took the position two years ago with a mandate to cut government spending, and he trumpeted what has been achieved in that area in that time.
“We’ve tried to cut back on wasteful spending and deal with this fiscal cliff we’re facing,” said Rogers. “We’ve cut the spending Congress does for three years now, which has not happened since World War II. We’ve cut $100 million off the spending Congress appropriates (in discretionary spending.)”
Rogers expected to come close to the same kind of cutbacks previous years have seen in the coming fiscal year. However, he noted, much of the problems in Washington are out of his hands.
“But two-thirds of spending is not controlled by Congress — it’s entitlements,” said Rogers, referring to Social Security and Medicare. “They’ve grown like a weed. That’s where the growth in government spending is coming from.”
Rogers wasn’t sure when speaking to the Commonwealth Journal how the presidential election would turn out. But by Tuesday night’s end, it appeared that Rogers’ political opponent Barack Obama would continue on in the White House for another four years. Rogers said that trying to work with the president to move America forward would prove “extremely difficult” for his fellow Republicans.
“Unless (Obama) changes his way of operation, he has not been at all cooperative with the (Republican-controlled) House,” said Rogers. “It’s his way or the highway. I’m hoping that, if he should be re-elected, that he has had a change of heart.”
What Rogers hopes to see for America over his next term is a more economically fruitful nation.
“We’ve got to produce jobs,” he said. “We’ve got to get the middle-class back to where they were. We’ve got 20 million people ... out of work. Many others are under-employed. Their income levels are dropping. We’ve got to reverse that. We’ve got to get people back to work, with good-paying jobs to allow people to buy homes, cars, and build this economy back.”