Historically, West Virginia politicians have often brought money to the state in the form of earmarks in the federal budget. Do you support the practice of earmarking federal funds?
“To get around that earmarking process, presidents, including the current one, have preached the line-item veto so they can go through and ‘X’ out for political reasons, cost reasons, whatever, projects that the president doesn’t feel deserve funding. Sen. Byrd preached against the line-item veto and I’m against the line-item veto because I think a member of Congress knows what’s best for his or her district.
“As long as they’re transparent, have local support, then I believe there is a role for earmarking. It’s a small percentage of our overall budget and every one of mine has been transparent, so I support that process.”
If elected and there was one thing you could do for West Virginia, what would it be?
“Jobs for our people. The second item would be more jobs. The third would be even more jobs. That’s number one. I believe by supporting infrastructure, by supporting the stimulus bill as I did — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we see the signs along the road where we have roads being repaired, that’s how they are funded. Health centers get money through the stimulus bill. Hospitals are getting money to improve their health care technologies. We have airports. We have National Guard armories. Broadband technologies are coming to this state because of stimulus funding and more is yet to be done. There is money for carbon capture and sequestration in that stimulus bill. There is still money to be spent and we have the potential to get more here in southern West Virginia. The Beckley bypass, the Z-Way — stimulus money.
“My opponent attacked that bill — I disagree vehemently. Whatever ad he has about windmills in China, that project never went through. It’s something in Texas that I’m not even sure what it was, but it never went through.
“I think by investing in our infrastructure and investing in our future and investing in jobs ... One of the projects I am proud of that I authored is the Southern West Virginia Environmental and Infrastructure program set up through the Corps of Engineers. Over the years, I have appropriated, not authorized, $30 million. We need more, yes. This has been going to the things like the Mercer/Summers water project, water and sewage projects across the southern part of the state in just about every county.
“Businesses aren’t going to come into an area if the basic water and sewage isn’t there or they can’t get in because the road system is not there. That’s a fact, so we need to invest in those areas and in education. Education is something that affects both employer and employee when they look to move into an area.”
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