From staff reports
Pleading for an end to the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Congress the past few years, Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia took the oath of office Thursday for his 19th consecutive term.
Rahall first was elected in the 3rd District in 1976 and has won every successive election, including last year’s victory over Republican challenger and fellow Beckleyan Rick Snuffer.
“Too many times, the last Congress allowed itself to become bogged down in frustrating legislative gridlock,” Rahall said after taking the oath.
“Historically, non-controversial measures that were essential to the economic well-being of our nation became victims of partisan stunts and bickering that forced Congress to lurch from one self-concocted crisis to another, hurting job growth and eroding the American people’s faith in their government.”
On issues that await the 113th Congress, Rahall said there is no reason members cannot get their tasks accomplished.
For him personally, Rahall said his chief goals are job creation and economic growth.
“Now is the time to address the needs of our aging highways and bridges, water and wastewater treatment systems,” he said.
“They are tried and true tonics for ailing economies and proven job producers. Do this and we not only grow the economy, we sustain and create jobs and help balance the budget. Infrastructure initiatives in West Virginia and throughout the country can help bridge the divide between the two parties and provide a roadmap to get American moving again.”
Rahall is the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
For every $1 billion invested in transportation, he said, some 35,000 jobs are either created or maintained.
And, each dollar applied to road and bridge improvements returns an average of $5.20 by reducing delays, vehicle maintenance costs, fuel consumption, road and bridge maintenance costs and emissions, as well as improving safety.
Rahall said he wants to help achieve a lowered deficit while safeguarding vital services to West Virginians.
“Certainly, I will continue fighting against unfair tax increases and spending cuts that would harm our state’s economy and West Virginia households including our seniors, working families, and small businesses, as well as our active duty troops, military retirees and veterans who have already sacrificed so much for our nation,” he said.