Opinion: Martha Roby Says Farewell - Report Card
Updated: Feb 2, 2021
After 10 Years of Representing Alabama's District 2, Roby Steps Down ...
Rep. Martha Roby recently sent out a farewell newsletter. Among other things, she discussed what had been accomplished during her tenure as a U.S. House member. But, how well did Martha Roby do representing the people of District 2, which includes the Montgomery River Region, and the Wiregrass?
In two years as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Rep. Roby co-sponsored one related bi-partisan bill that never left the Judiciary Committee.
The bill was called the SHOP SAFE Act of 2020. In a March 6, 2020 weekly column, Rep Roby stated the bill "protects consumers and businesses from the sale of counterfeit goods online". AFP commends Rep. Roby for co-sponsoring a bill that would benefit Alabamians. In that same column, Rep. Roby stated "I have always said if it is illegal in the real world, then it should also be illegal online". AFP agrees. Yet, in ten years in Washington D.C., AFP could find tittle evidence of her taking action with related sponsored, or co-sponsored, bills. According to Govtrack.us, during the 2019 legislative year, Rep. Roby "co-sponsored the fewest bills" and was "most absent in votes" when compared to the "Alabama Delegation".
Photo Credit: Lea Hope Bonzer, Pixabay
More About Rep. Roby's Tenure
During her tenure as a U.S House member the national deficit almost doubled from about $13.5 trillion at the end of September, 2010, to about $26.9 trillion by the end of September, 2020. While Rep. Roby introduced balanced budget legislation, nobody, including Roby, really ever expected such measures to have any chance of passing. It takes courage to stand up and take a stand against party leadership and say "no" when their spending bills are out of control. AFP could find little evidence that Rep. Roby did that when it really mattered. Actions speak louder than words.
According to Opensecrets.org, Rep. Roby's largest donation from a PAC in 2018 was Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama. The same PAC also contributed to Rep. Roby in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Because of their monopoly status in the Alabama individual healthcare market, AFP views this as a major negative.
After the 2016 election, disruptive groups discouraged many Republican candidates from having town hall meetings. That is unfortunate as these meetings provide opportunities for the public to meet face-to-face with their elected representatives. With that said, AFP feels Rep. Roby did a poor job of offering alternative options. It was common for Rep. Roby to have meetings with organizations in the district where members or employees could be present. While a good option, the general public was not included in those meetings. In addition, email correspondence via her U.S. House web site, resulted in mostly cut and paste responses.
Despite leaving her U.S. office seat after 10 years, AFP could not find any reference to Rep. Roby supporting term limits. Other Alabama representatives have publicly stated their positions on term limits. According to a 2018 McLaughlin & Associates poll, voters overwhelmingly support a Constitutional Amendment for limiting terms for members of Congress. In years past, national polls have shown a similar result. Term Limits are important because incumbents have such great advantage in winning elections.
Martha Roby's accomplishments can be found in publications with an Internet search. But, AFP's opinion is Martha Roby was mostly ineffective as a U.S. House member. While Roby did not do anything particularly bad, AFP feels she took too much of a passive approach while in office.
From press statements, AFP is not convinced that Martha Roby has run her last political campaign. It will be interesting to see if she runs for state office, or possibly enters the 2022 US Senate race.
AFP GRADE: C+
Updated: (February 2, 2021) Page adjustment