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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Spotlight On: Jeanie Fusaro

When Jeanie Fusaro received a constituent mailer from her congressman about what’s going on in Washington, she thought: “They think we’re stupid because we’re seniors. They didn’t think we’d do our homework.”

Fusaro, 66, was particularly skeptical of the letter’s statement that reports “predict higher unemployment for the next two years.”

“That automatically incites people,” Fusaro said.

The unemployment claim was one of several misleading statements we found in the mailer Fusaro sent to Spin Detectors. The letter, from Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, misuses unemployment figures from a Congressional Budget Office report. The mailer also labels 27 Republican-backed bills in the House  “bipartisan,” when a majority of House Democrats opposed 22 of the proposals. And Westmoreland uses inflated figures to predict the number of jobs the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to create.

Fusaro spent most of her life working in sales — selling services in the medical and transportation fields — before retiring four years ago. She has challenged the congressman’s mailers before, writing about one she received last year in a letter to the editor of her local newspaper.

Fusaro, a Democrat, she said she feels outnumbered in her town of Peachtree, Ga., which is about 45 minutes south of Atlanta. Westmoreland is a four-term Republican.

“I know about 10 Democrats in this entire city,” Fusaro said. “You don’t get to hear a good balance of stuff. I just decided that I’m not just going to take [the mailer] and just read it and throw it aside.”

— Ben Finley

Our “Spotlight” feature is designed to give credit to those who help us hold politicians accountable. So, watch this spot. If you send us campaign materials that contain false or misleading information and we write about them, then we may write about you – with your permission, of course.

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