Demand a better 'return' from senators, representatives

What do we get in exchange for the salaries and perks paid to elected representatives in Washington?

As we continue to fund lavish salaries, perks and retirement for our congressional representatives, regrettably, we get in return deadlock performance and partisan politics. Upon arrival in Washington, the party (Democrat or Republican) controls their every action.

Research guides us to some interesting facts. For example, in 2018, the median net worth for a member of Congress bested $1 million. Compare this to the average American household net worth of around $90,000.

Moreover, members of Congress are eligible for rich, taxpayer-funded pensions dependent on the congressperson's age at retirement, length of service and salary.

We pay all this salary and benefits for our representatives. Both parties argue, debate, stonewall and accomplish nothing significant. We tolerate the plethora of elected officials as they flash their finely tuned debate skills for TV and the folks back home, yet we struggle to figure out what they said while achieving nothing.

Demand a better ROI (return on investment).

Johnny Jones, Hixson


Pipeline difference must just feel right

After watching Biden with Putin, I could not quit thinking, this guy is an embarrassment and Putin is guilty of elder abuse. It was like a script for a comedy movie. Biden was standing there like a prop for the "Walking Dead" (Biden is the only thing that walks slower than those dead people), while Putin was there smirking about what a nincompoop we elected. He showed zero respect for our idiot and chief.

So, let me get this straight: Biden cancels our pipeline, puts our energy independence at risk, raises gas prices, hurts us strategically, upsets Canada, and then approves a pipeline from Russia to Europe, bypassing our ally, Ukraine, which hurts it economically, and gets nothing from Russia for that except getting our gas supply and meat supply hacked. And liberals/commies think that was smart.

I guess our pipeline is somehow different from the Russian pipeline. I just have one question. How?

Both pump greenhouse gas-laden material. Both would supply much needed energy at an affordable cost. Tell me, what is the difference? Oh, that's right, you left-wing idiots don't think at all. You just "feel." I guess it just "feels" right.

What a bunch of children.

Tim Price, Hixson


Did oligarch money fund 'bad players'?

Wherever there is organized crime, we must find out where the funding is coming from in order to understand the motivation behind the illegal activities; this allows authorities to systematically sever the monetary lifeblood.

The primary funding for the tea party came from David and Charles Koch, the infamous libertarians. Charles Koch recently declared the Koch money was no longer being used to disrupt government through political PACs. PACs have been icing on the neoliberalists' cake that has been carefully constructed since the times of Barry Goldwater.

Since, we assume Koch money is not going toward the PACs that funded Trump and all the insurrectionists' attempts at dismantling democracy, who is funding these bad players?

The Trump family finances are under federal investigation, and so far they have not been able to track the large yearly influxes of cash that have sustained Trump's perennially losing properties. Could this finally be the thread that unravels the Trump criminal empire?

Is the funding coming from oligarchs that were created upon the breakup of the Soviet Union? Could it be the conspiracy to undermine democracy has been halfwittedly supported by greed and avarice and not by racists and kooks?

John Mathna


We must put end to gerrymandering now

This fall, state legislatures will begin the process of drawing new electoral districts. I, like a majority of you, want to see Tennessee and Georgia take partisan influence out of it. I believe gerrymandering, the process of manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts for political advantage, has no place in our states.

Under current Georgia and Tennessee law, the state legislatures get to draw these district maps. The people should choose their representatives, not the other way around. I urge everyone to contact their state representatives and ask them to support an independent redistricting committee moving forward. Several other states have done this in recent years.

While it is too late to make any changes to the redistricting process this year, the state legislatures can still make choices to draw legislative maps that follow existing political and community boundaries and not ones that give advantage to a particular political party or politician. They can also make the process more transparent, such as holding public meetings to get input throughout the process. Please get involved — contact your representatives and share your thoughts on social media so we can put an end to gerrymandering in our states.

Alex Brady, Ringgold, Georgia


Washington, D.C., deserves statehood

No taxation without representation. It's one reason America fought for independence. So why do we continue to tax Washington, D.C., residents without proper representation in Congress?

The population of D.C. is comparable to populations of states like Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota and Vermont. Each of those gets two senators and a voting House member to advocate for their needs. But because of its status as a district, D.C. has no senators, and its one House representative is prevented from voting. Yet, residents of the district still live, work, serve in the military and on juries — and pay federal taxes.

Denying hundreds of thousands of Americans a voice in our democracy goes against what this country claims it stands for. But we can change this by making D.C. the 51st state. And it's not as difficult to do as it sounds! Statehood can become a reality by making its way through Congress like any other bill — and that bill has already passed the House.

Adding D.C. would be a huge win in giving representation to hundreds of thousands of Americans. I'm urging my senators and community to support D.C. statehood.

Margaret J. Hill


Clergy: Work with, not against police

A small group of clergy filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice for the investigation of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

It is the existing drug [trade] and certain people who refuse to obey the law who are the problems. It is not really the pattern of police conduct but the attitude of certain citizens that have no respect for law and order. In fact, they have no respect for law-abiding citizens and for themselves.

When I owned rental property, I was twice held at gunpoint and injured on one occasion. I finally could not continue providing equitable housing in that area because some residents were so disrespectful toward police and anyone who was law-abiding.

The police protect vulnerable people from drug addicts and criminals. People are safer when they see the police patrolling the area. I believe clergy should help the police to deal with individuals who have no respect for law and order. Clergy should be partnering with the police in community building and supporting the police instead of criticizing them!

Amos Taj, Ooltewah