Bob Etheridge may be the living definition of a member of the Washington/Raleigh political class. Despite often being described as a part-time farmer and hardware store owner, Etheridge’s real career has been in elected office, occupying various roles for over 30 years. His political career:
- Harnett County Commisioner from 1973-76
- North Carolina House of Representatives 1979-88
- State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1989-96
- US House member 1997-2011
After ignoring the will of his constitutents by voting for Obama’s healthcare plan and stimulus package (not to mention a certain video clip), Etheridge lost his reelection bid to Renee Ellmers, a nurse from Dunn, NC who had never held any public office. Etheridge was the only member of the North Carolina Congressional delegation who lost his seat in the 2010 elections.
Despite not being reelected, Etheridge has continues to collect government paychecks, thanks to Gov. Bev Perdue. From WRAL:
Gov. Bev Perdue’s office announced that former Democratic Congressman Bob
Etheridge will leave his current post as NC’s stimulus czar for a three-month
job leading the state’s Hurricane Irene recovery. His salary will remain the
same – $98,500 a year – but will be funded for the next three months by a grant
from the NC Rural Center.
Perdue spokeswoman Chris Mackey said Etheridge’s work in the recovery office
was beginning to wind down, but hurricane response was ramping up. “We needed
his expertise to get what we needed from Washington for the victims of Irene,”
Mackey said Etheridge’s Office of Economic Recovery and Investment would
remain staffed, and she expects an interim director will be named. Etheridge
could return to it down the road.
Translation: Bob is really good at bringing the pork home.
Coordinating an effective response to Hurricane Irene is obviously an important task, but hopefully it will be the last paycheck Etheridge will collect from the taxpayers of North Carolina.