Daughter: I am not benefitting from father's influence
I would like to correct some assertions made in the recent article alleging that my father, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, is spending taxpayers money to help cheetahs in Africa because I am the Cheetah Conservation Fund's grants manager.
In the time I have had that position with CCF, we have received no federal monies.
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In fact, the one small federal grant we applied for was turned down. In 2004 — three years before I started working for CCF — Dad signed on as one of seven co-sponsors (Republicans and Democrats) of the Big Cats/Rare Canids Act, which would potentially provide small grants through the Fish and Wildlife Service through the formal, competitive federal grant process.
And as for him introducing me to fund cofounder Laurie Marker: I had known her for years through volunteering at the National Zoo, and he invited me to a reception with her in 2000.
I volunteered off and on for CCF for seven years before being hired part-time. For someone who spends all his time using his influence to get jobs for his children, he's not very good at it, and he's awfully slow.
Frankly, the Herald-Leader has made way more money off my dad than I ever did or ever will.
Congressman has always helped
As a former mayor of Beattyville, I worked with congressman Hal Rogers for years on effective solutions to the needs of our community.
With his help, our city provides water to 95 percent of the population. A new water plant furnishes ample water supply to these users. Funding for two new fire trucks allows for affordable fire insurance rates.
Rogers' PRIDE program motivated our community to clean up unsightly dumps, provided funding for new septic systems and for a new pressure sewer system serving 300 customers.
Responding to one of our greatest problems, Rogers founded and funded Operation UNITE. Courageously, he stood alone on courthouse steps across his district and ordered the drug dealers to get out and, with passion, assured the addicts that he would get them treatment. Funding was found for drug court, affording alternatives to incarceration,
We are grateful for our charitable congressman.
Other priorities for the money
I hope I am not the only one in Central Kentucky to find it a little disturbing that a bill would give $5 million to conservation groups outside the country that work with endangered cats.
This money needs to go to our Gulf Coast to take care of the wildlife affected by the oil spill.
Better yet, take part of the money and use it for services and needs of the people that have been put out of work, such as fishermen, who are unable to make ends meet because of the loss of their jobs.
School is starting in a few days, and I am sure there are hundreds of children in need of school supplies and clothes. Hopefully the majority of the House of Representatives has some common sense when voting on this issue.
How can we, taxpaying American citizens, pay for African wild animals' survival, when we have American-born citizens going hungry?
On July 25, Dateline NBC featured a story on poverty in Ohio. Poverty exists in all 50 states. My tax dollars vote for feeding the hungry and creating jobs right here at home. I will not be going to the Cincinnati Zoo to see the cheetahs that Rogers arranged to be there.
Just a few of Rogers' pet projects
Regarding a July 28 editorial, "Another coincidence; Rogers brings prosperity to a few": I don't believe that congressman Hal Rogers has favored any county over another if a county was interested in bettering itself.
Any project that I think will benefit Perry County quickly becomes a pet project, as I'm sure is the case with Rogers. He has funneled the following funds in just the past couple weeks:
■ Over $11 million for security.
■ $190,000 to improve Tucker Guthrie Memorial Airport in Harlan County.
■ $200,000 for the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.
■ $367,144 for the Big Sandy regional airport in Martin County.
■ $73,604 for police vehicles in Mount Vernon.
■ $68,000 in scholarships for Union College.
■ $5,061 to rehabilitate a baseball field for the McCreary County Youth Project.
■ $40,000 to Hazard's Wendell Ford Airport.
We remain grateful that Eastern Kentucky is one of Hal Rogers' pet projects.
Denny Ray Noble
Perry County Judge ExecutiveHazard