Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has a constituent service problem, and it might be her biggest real-world liability heading into the upcoming primary. If one talks to her apologist, they always seem overeager to explain away why she is bad at the fundamentals of her job. It usually has something to do with “the Swamp” or Democrats impeding her from getting things done by doing things like kicking her off committees.
But the Swamp and Democrats aren’t responsible for veterans in her district being angry as hell at her inability to get things done for them—in fact, not serving on committees should free Marjorie up to do more and better constituent service, especially since we know she’s not spending that much time in Washington, DC; hence her need to get fellow members of Congress to cast her votes for her.
The Swamp and Democrats are not responsible for her failing to back legislation that obviously Republican businesspeople in her district want passed. And the Swamp and Democrats are not responsible for her having hired a bunch of former Rep. Tom Graves’ in-district staff and immediately having slashed their pay.
Yes, this really happened. Marjorie Taylor Greene literally slashed the pay of her in-district staff, including those handling casework, when the economy was being ravaged by pandemic-related closures, right as she assumed office—i.e., the exact same time that she was asking them to step up to the plate and work for her, someone who was going to make their lives hell anyway with her constant scandals, dabbling in conspiracy theories, and general antics that raise her profile as a political celebrity but do nothing for the district.
Some screenshots from LegiStorm, a site that tracks the staff of Members of Congress and reports their pay (among other things), and the graphs below say it all:
Jackie Mooney, constituent services representative, and Valerie Jones, a caseworker, each took a $6,000 per year pay cut when they went to work for Greene. Tracey Bartley, her constituent services director, took about a $15,000 a year pay cut.
Travis Loudermilk, the son of Rep. Barry Loudermilk, only lost a couple hundred bucks a year in pay, but Greene probably couldn’t get away with slashing his pay by more. After all, his father is one of her colleagues, and she already has enough Republicans who refuse to work with her without making enemies of fellow Georgia Republicans’ dads by cutting their kids’ paychecks.
Here’s the point: These same exact people were known for providing good constituent service under Graves. Now, constituent service in the same district, being conducted by the same people, has been under persistent criticism.
So, what changed? Just one thing: The boss.
Instead of having Graves, the staff were asked to work for *Marjorie Taylor Greene* and to do it for *less money* than Graves paid. In the middle of an economic crisis where casework loads were likely to be heavier, and a lot of the country was becoming prone to depression and anxiety thanks in large part to pandemic measure-induced economic crisis. If you wanted to write a perfect recipe for demoralized in-district staff, this would pretty much be it.
No wonder stuff like this is happening:
But she told DailyMail.com she’s heard frustrations from numerous voters within Greene’s district who feel largely unattended to — including multiple former members of the military.
‘We have one veteran who’s reached out to her office, I think 10 or 11 times, and hasn’t been able to get a response. And then obviously, we’ve heard others,’ she said.
Strahan’s campaign on Thursday shared an audio clip with DailyMail.com from a morning town hall in which she can be heard asking a voter, apparently another veteran, whether he’s reached out to Greene’s office for aid.
‘She will not help,’ the man can be heard saying.
Strahan said in an interview afterwards, ‘It’s a pattern. It’s not just like one off things here or there. I mean, people aren’t able to get what they need.’
‘We’ve heard others that have said they’ve had to go to — to their dismay — the Democrat senators in the state to be able to get the services they need, because they can’t get it here in our district. And that’s just a shame,’ the primary contender said.
And stuff like this:
Critics in the business community say Mrs. Greene hasn’t effectively pushed for local interests on issues such as infrastructure and trade. More than 85% of U.S. carpet and rug output is produced by mills within a 65-mile radius of Dalton, producing an estimated $8 billion in economic activity, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute trade association.
“Our current congresswoman is not really paying attention to our issues,” said Harlan Stone, the chief executive of HMTX Industries, a vinyl flooring importer with warehousing and other operations in the district.
Mrs. Greene has never met with him or his managers, he said, a contrast with the Republican who previously held the seat, Rep. Tom Graves, who declined to run two years ago. Mr. Stone donated to Mrs. Strahan’s campaign last month.
In Dalton, Mayor David Pennington said his priority is money to reduce storm water runoff on Interstate 75, and he hopes he can pay for the $8 million project through a grant program funded by the infrastructure law. Some 56 bridges in the district, or 4.2%, are structurally deficient, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, above the state average.
Mrs. Greene’s office said that she would be happy to speak to Mr. Pennington about any requests, but it wasn’t aware of any communications from him about the I-75 project.
(As an aside, I guess Greene doesn’t read local papers or she would have known about Pennington’s interest in infrastructure funds for I-75—a quick Google result turns up this, from last August—and note that Pennington wasn’t seeking an earmark here.)
And stuff like this:
A US Navy veteran was filmed personally accusing Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of disparaging the military and other groups, calling the Republican congresswoman a “shame.”
Greene knows this is possibly her biggest vulnerability. This is why she went nuts on Jennifer Strahan when Strahan pointed out that constituents are getting a bad deal with MTG instead of a sane, conservative Republican representing the district. Like everyone, she knows the problem isn’t her staff; it’s her.
Apparently, there are several veterans who have not yet gone on the record with media about their struggles with getting Taylor Greene to lift a finger to help them, but are getting increasingly fed up with her. Will those people come forward before the primary?
Who knows. What we do know is that Greene described serving in the US military as “throwing your life away” which strongly suggests her basic attitude towards constituent service for veterans, in particular, is lacking.
But really, this is a problem for everyone in her district. It’s bad enough that she farms her congressional voting out to Rep. Paul Gosar in incredibly hypocritical style, and ditches her district for road trips with Rep. Matt Gaetz. The least she could do is casework for her constituents, but focusing on that only seems to be a priority when Strahan points out that Greene is terrible at it.