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Of Foxes and Hen Houses . . .

There are congressional hearings coming up, the results of which could potentially have a big impact on Amtrak and, if you are an Amtrak rider, upon you, too.

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These hearings will determine who gets to serve as a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors. The names of candidates are considered by a Senate committee and voted on by the entire Senate. 

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In the good old days, serious thought went into the process. Congressional staffers came up with lists of names— people interested in transportation issues and with backgrounds and experiences that would enable them to make relevant contributions to America’s passenger railroad.

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Today?  Well, today things are very different. The United State Senate will soon be voting to confirm three nominees to the Amtrak Board.

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Lynn Westmoreland, former Member of Congress, who voted to end all federal funding for Amtrak. Not once. Twice. In 2009 and again in 2015.

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Joseph Gruters is a former Republican State Senator from Florida and one of Trump’s earliest and most ardent supporters.

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Rick Dearborn, a former employee of the Heritage Foundation, an ultra-conservative organization which has advocated the elimination of Amtrak in the past.

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A Senate committee reviewed the qualifications of all three candidates and, by a vote of 14-12 along straight party lines, sent all three names to the full Senate for final approval.

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For those who feel as I do, that these nominations are another outrage, an email or—better yet—a phone call to each of your two senators would be very helpful. There is, as far as I know, no date set for that vote, but the sooner, the better. And you can click here for more information and additional ways to help.

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• Outdoor advertising (billboards) has been illegal in Hawaii for 100 years.


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