By Kara Van Pelt
With the race for the U.S. Senate heating up in West Virginia, Republican nominee John Raese came to Beckley Friday for an open forum at Woodrow Wilson High School.
Raese took the opportunity to discuss such issues as the economy, jobs and health care.
“We are here today to listen to some issues,” he said. “I think one of the great things about having open forums is that people get to come and voice their concerns.”
One of the most important issues, according to Raese, is government control. One example of this, he said, is cap and trade.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cap and trade is an environmental policy tool that places a mandatory cap on emissions while providing sources flexibility in how they comply with the cap.
The problem, Raese says, is that it gives government too much control, affects economic growth and keeps West Virginians out of work.
“Cap and trade has (negatively) impacted southern West Virginia, and I am concerned about the future of our state and I’m concerned about the manufacture of natural resources.”
Another one of Raese’s concerns is the minimum wage.
“Anytime the government tries to micro-manage the economy and starts setting wages, it is the death of free enterprise and capitalism,” he said. “All you have to do is look around today and you can see there are a lot of old people out of work and a lot of young people are too.
“A lot of times the jobs that would be created for the youth of our country are taken away by a hideous situation with minimum wage. I profess that minimum wage be eliminated and we operate on the laws of supply and demand just like we did before the depression,” he added.
Raese pointed to his past political campaigns but said that in 2006, during his Senate race against Robert C. Byrd, the issues he believed in were not resonating with the general public.
“A lot of the values I had in 2006 didn’t resonate then and I don’t think that people in this country understood the severity of concern,” he said.
“It’s resonating now,” he said.
“My message of lower taxes, less regulation, quit printing money and lower government is resonating,” he continued. “What I believe in firmly is capitalism and free enterprise.”
He said he has been receiving quite a bit of statewide support.
“Those messages are starting to resonate and I’m getting a tremendous amount of support,” he said. “As a matter of fact, every Republican headquarters in West Virginia right now are running out of my materials. In 2006, there wasn’t that problem. That’s a happy problem.”
Raese also took the opportunity to speak about one of his key campaign issues, healthcare reform.
“I think Obama care is a loser and if I’m elected, I will repeal it.”
He said through “Obama care” the federal government will force doctors to limit care by implementing “quality and efficiency” standards. He said the government, not doctors, will determine what diagnostic tests and medical care are appropriate.
When asked what he believed his chance at winning was, he replied, “A darn good one.”
“I think that West Virginia is a very conservative state and I’ve watched Reagan and Bush carry it,” he said. “I think it’s testimony to the fact that most West Virginians, whether they are Democrats, independent or Republicans, have a very conservative base and high moral fiber, and it is something I am very proud to be a part of.”
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