It did not take long for US Representative Gwen Graham to create a controversey among her supporters.
Graham, who defeated Republican Steve Southerland for the District 2 House seat last November, promised voters she would vote against electing party leader Nancy Pelosi as House speaker during her campaign.
On Tuesday of last week, Graham kept that promise by voting for Democratic Rep, Jim Cooper of Tennessee.
Her supporters, for the most part were silent on the issue, but not on her next two votes.
During the campaign Graham said “our problems can’t be blamed on only Republicans or only Democrats – we need more people in both parties committed to working together and finding real solutions.”
Consisntent with this sentiment, Graham voted with Republicans earlier this week for the Keystone XL Act and changes to Afforable Health Care Act (AHCA).
On the Keystone Act, Graham said, while drivers across North Florida are enjoying low gas prices today, energy policy must be planned with long-term goals in mind. Keystone XL will play an important role in keeping energy prices low, which benefits our country’s economy and national security.”
With regard to the changes to the AHCA, Graham co-sponored the Save American Workers Act, which passed the House of Representatives 252-172. The legislation will replace the 30-hour definition of full-time employment imposed by the AHCA with the traditional 40-hour definition.
Grahama said “I’m for keeping the good and fixing the bad parts of Obamacare. We all agree we need to keep insurance companies from discriminating against people and we need to continue to work on lowering costs, but limiting part-time employees to less than 30 hours is more harmful than helpful for workers in North Florida. This legislation will fix that problem without repealing the good parts of healthcare reform.”
Her votes, which were consistent with Southerland’s positions, frustrated a number of supporters who took to social media to express themselves.
Jennifer Ross wrote, “Keystone TOO??? And she voted against Pelosi for leader of her own party and for the sneaky GOP undermining of the Affordable Health Care Act to hurt workers and pay off employers. All in one week. What the hell will she do to “represent” against us NEXT week?
Louise Ritchie commented, “Gwen Graham is among the Keystone friendly folks…. I didn’t support her campaign for her to do things like this.”
Brian Lee said, “I am shocked and utterly disappointed that Congresswoman Gwen Graham voted today in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. So many energy and environmental advocates that I know in Leon County spent so much time and energy working to elect her, and she votes like Southerland would have.”
And Tom Baxter wrote, “I voted against Southerland, but I had no illusions about Graham. I wonder if/when she’ll ever cast a vote that Southerland wouldn’t.”
But Stephen Hodges tried to explain the votes to her supporters by commenting, “it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s anti-environment, but if she wants to be a player–and an ineffective elected official does no one any good–she’s going to have to triangulate and prove that she’s independent. Hence, her vote against Pelosi. In this political environment, an ideologically pure candidate cannot be elected from the left side of the aisle, and even if they were elected, they would be marginalized immediately.”