I know my Virginia blog friends frequently complain about Boucher, but I guess I was raised on his ideas about telecom and agree with maybe all of them. Indeed, I have written them down for him a couple of times - including this brief. (link)I'd like to think I am included on that list of Steve's Virginia blog friends who complain frequently about Boucher's performance, track record, and overall leadership capabilities - or lack thereof.
I will be the first one to give Boucher credit for being on the right side of the telecom issue, and if I were a lobbyist for the companies that will profit from his efforts, I'd be singing his praises right now. But I'm not. And of all the problems that Southwest Virginia is facing, telecom is not high on the list. Keeping employers and employees in the area who can take advantage of it is. In that regard - the economy of Southwest Virginia and the leadership role Rick Boucher could be taking in getting it turned around - he is an absolute failure.
I'm trying mightily to avoid using the "Adolf Hitler built a wonderful autobahn" analogy here. So I'll use the "walk and chew bubble gum at the same time" analogy instead. We ought to be able to demand a whole lot more from Rick Boucher than we've gotten from him thus far.
How many more plant closings are we willing to endure?
How many more counties with declining population are we going to accept?
How many more studies revealing the fact that area citizens are drinking from grossly polluted streams must we read?
The thousands of homes with no indoor plumbing.
The telecom issue is an important one. And its development will have a positive impact on our economic performance here in Southwest Virginia. But it alone won't keep the plants open or keep folks in The Narrows and Pocahontas and Tazewell from doing what their neighbors are doing - packing their bags and heading north.
We must demand more from our elected leaders. Starting with Rick Boucher.