The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 24, 2012

Candidates' Corner — John Raese


Infrastructure remains a critical need, because without it, commerce cannot thrive. Where is the money going to come from to repair and replace our roads and bridges?

RAESE: Infrastructure is, I’m in that business. I don’t want to sound self-serving. I’ve been in road construction, asphalt and concrete, for years in the state of West Virginia. When you look at infrastructure in this country, the first thing that I look at is what has caused a lot of decay in our bridges, what’s caused a lot of decay in the cement work and the No. 1 ingredient is called salt — salt. And the first thing I’d like to do to look at the problem we have in infrastructure is why they are decaying and why are they falling apart. And if we keep throwing salt on our highways and our bridges, often our automobile, then your asphalt and concrete, highways are going to deteriorate. And the first thing I would do is stop that. And I think it’s very important that we understand why we have such a loss in a lot of our infrastructure. To say the least, it also goes into our steams and it also pollutes most of our streams. Who does it? Government does it. And they’re probably the biggest polluter of any known entity that I would know. And a lot of states don’t do it, but most of the states do it.

Now to fund our infrastructure, that’s a part of government. The way I look at it is that we have so many things in our government, so many opportunities in our government to cut waste that we could fund our infrastructure if we would get like, let’s say for instance, foreign aid.

Do we need to have foreign aid to Egypt? Do we need to have foreign aid to Libya? Do we need to have foreign aid to Pakistan? Well, I don’t think we do. Right there is $4 billion. Could that fund a lot of infrastructure? I think it could. We’re talking about countries that have blown up our embassy and had a terrorist attack on our embassy. They killed our ambassador. I would move to terminate a lot of foreign aid in that direction and restructure a lot of our necessary spending in this country towards projects that make sense.

Let me think. Since 2001, Pakistan has had $20 billion worth of foreign aid. $20 billion. It’s incredible. Now Rand Paul put it to a vote and this is talking about reaching across the aisle to do a lot of things that I want to do. He put it to a vote in the U.S. Senate and he said, Should we cut off foreign aid to all three of those particular countries? The vote came back 82-10 not to cut off the foreign aid. Joe Manchin voted not to cut off the foreign aid. If I’m there,  I’m going to vote to cut off. I’m going to vote to cut off a lot of foreign aid and start redirecting it back into this country. That’s how we fund the projects we really need to do.

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