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Last week as the dollar fell against the currencies of Europe, Canada, Japan and Mexico, I reminded folks just how much work this Congress has to do on behalf of the working families in this nation, and that they're going to need more, and better Democrats joining them in 2009 to undo the damage of the Bush Administration.

Now, as oil tops $109 a barrel for the first time, and the U.S. trade deficit continues to rise especially with China, I have some good news that more, and better Democrats may be well on their way.

I'm honored to announce to you first that the Kissell for Congress campaign just earned "Red to Blue" status with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

That's great help for our campaign given that AP ranks NC-08 as one of the most economically devastated Districts in America, but let's not lose sight of the issues we've been fighting for non-stop since launching this campaign in 2005.

Oil prices topped $109 a barrel for the first time Tuesday as investors sought refuge from the anemic dollar.

Speculation that rising prices for oil and other commodities will offset the falling dollar has driven oil up from $87 a barrel in January. Oil's latest rise came as the International Energy Agency said crude prices will likely be underpinned by brisk demand in China and other emerging markets.

My opponent Robin Hayes was right the first time when he said:

"Every time I drive through Kannapolis and I see those empty plants I know there is no way I could vote for CAFTA," Hayes said. [AP 7/14/2005]

Of course, he did end up changing his vote for CAFTA at the request of President Bush, sending more of our jobs overseas and setting the very stage of "emerging market oil demand" (translation: China) now hurting our working families here.

And when I talk about working families here, I'm including the nearly 1 in 10 struggling families in some of our counties that used to have good paying jobs but now can't even afford to buy gas. Unemployment is up statewide, but NC-08 still tops out with the highest unemployment in the state thanks to the bad trade deals of Robin Hayes and George Bush - bad trade deals that contribute more to "emerging market oil demand" and make filling up your tank even harder.

The price of standard crude oil on NYMEX was under $25/barrel in September 2003, and with inflation adjustments had remained below this mark since the mid 1980s. A series of events led the price to reach over $60 by August 11, 2005, surpass $75 in the summer of 2006, fall to between $50 and $60/barrel in the early part of 2007, then rise steeply, reaching $92/barrel by October 2007 and $99.29/barrel for December futures in New York on November 21, 2007. Throughout the beginning of 2008, oil hit several new record highs. On February 29, 2008, oil prices hit an inflation-adjusted all-time peak at $103.05 per barrel, and reached $109.20 on March 11, 2008, the fifth record high in six trading days.

Oil was a little over $16 a barrel when Robin Hayes took office in 1999. Just look at what nearly 10 years of doing nothing, or worse than nothing in the case of Robin Hayes' free trade betrayal, has done to the working families of this District. Last cycle when I offered gas for $1.22 a gallon, the price when Robin Hayes (who owns millions of dollars of stock in the oil companies he actually represents in Congress) first took office, the real cost that day was $2.89 per gallon, and hundreds lined up to take advantage of the badly needed savings.

How many voters do you think will come now that gas is approaching $3.30 a gallon? Every $33.30 donated today will go to help one of those struggling families in North Carolina's 8th District, and send a strong message to Congress we need a serious investment in alternative, renewable fuels now!

Thank you for your support and thanks to Chairman Van Hollen and the DCCC for this "Red to Blue" honor. I appreciate it. Now let's get to work!

P.S. I just received the full list of Red to Blue Candidates for Change from the DCCC:

Kay Barnes (MO-06)
Anne Barth (WV-02)
Darcy Burner (WA-08)
Robert Daskas (NV-03)
Steve Driehaus (OH-01)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Christine Jennings (FL-13)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Gary Peters (MI-09)
Mark Schauer (MI-07)
Dan Seals (IL-10)

Please support all these great candidates.

Originally posted to Larry Kissell on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 08:48 AM PDT.

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