Congressional Profile: David McKinley
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Over the next few week West Virginia Watchdog will be posting interviews with the Congressional candidates in West Virginia‘s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd districts.
Democrat Alan Mollohan, the longtime 1st District Congressman, has several Republicans running to defeat him, but none carry the amount of accomplishments and respect as Republican David McKinley.
An architect with offices in two states, a former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, a former Chair of the state’s Republican Party Executive Committee, and a candidate for Governor, McKinley has now turned his attention to Congress.
In an interview at the offices of his architectural firm, McKinley answered questions about several important policy issues that will face the 1st District’s next representative. On the top of that list is health insurance reform. The House passed the Senate health care bill Sunday night with Mollohan and 3rd District Democrat Nick Rahall voting yes and 2nd District Republican Shelley Moore Capito voting no. McKinley would have been another no.
“I would have voted no; I would have definitely been a no vote on that,” said McKinley. “I can’t think of many things that the federal government does well. And they want to take over another one-sixth of our country’s economy? If they don’t do well in all these other matters why would I think they’re going to do well on this?”
“Medicaid and Medicare are already in trouble, Social Security is in trouble,” added McKinley. “If we look at the big picture, the primary issue is whether the government does anything efficiently. I don’t think they do.”
McKinley was most upset by the reasons behind Mollohan’s yes vote. Both Mollohan and Rahall joined Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and other pro-life Democrats at a press conference prior to the health care vote to announce their support after negotiating a deal with President Barack Obama, who agreed to sign an executive order reaffirming the federal ban on abortion spending.
“That’s a sham, how else do you want to color it,” asked McKinley. “If he can, by fiat, make it a declaration, what’s to keep him from changing his mind or a subsequent president issuing a contrary executive order? It needs to go through the legislative arena to get the vote of the people in Congress. I was embarrassed for Stupak that he would allow that to take place.”
Several state attorneys general have filed suit against the health care bill based on the unconstitutionality of it, as well as the unfunded mandates placed on the states. There is also a movement to repeal the bill, a movement that McKinley supports.
“I’ve already signed a petition that if I’m elected I would move to be part of repealing it,” said McKinley. “The reality of that is unless we get enough votes he’ll just veto it. But I think it’s an symbolic enough gesture to defeat it and let him veto it if that is what has to be, because the American public was uncomfortable with it for a whole host of reasons. The fundamental one is this is a grab by the federal government to take over more of our economy. They already have some of our banks, our automobile industry. Enough is enough and one of these days someone is going to have to say ‘have you had enough?’”
The new health care bill is another entitlement that will add nearly a trillion dollars to the federal deficit over the next ten years. This is on top of government spending that is already out of control. McKinley is a believer in balanced budgets and has called for a federal balanced budget since 1981.
“I called for a balanced budget when I was in the legislature and numerous occasions at the federal level,” explained McKinley. “Remember when Newt Gingrich was elected in 94 we worked on a balanced budget. He had to convince (former President Bill) Clinton, and I remember Clinton saying ‘we can’t get there for seven years, but we’ll eventually get there.’ They got there quicker, didn’t they? We had a balanced budget for several years. We’ve demonstrated we have the ability to do that; do it again. You can’t tell me it can’t be done.”
“If you get the will, if you get the chemistry going, if you get the dynamics going economically in this country – bubble or not – where people are working and the manufacturers are expanding, you’ve got the ability to raise revenue without taxes,” added McKinley. “You’ll be able to balance your budget as long as you can control your spending.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed over a year ago to stimulate job growth, but the bulk of money has gone to expand public sector employment. McKinley says the stimulus hasn’t put people back to work in the Wheeling area.
“When the stimulus package came in Ohio County we were at 6.7 percent (unemployment),” said McKinley, using numbers from The Wheeling News-Register. “Now we’re over 10 percent. Almost all of our counties have increased over 50 percent.”
McKinley’s answer to creating jobs involves a mix of a more reasonable corporate tax rate, tort reform, plus credits and incentives to spur manufacturing.
“We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world,” explained McKinley. “Nationally if we would go to the average (corporate tax rate) of the industrialized nations that would spur the economy. (Manufacturers) also say increasing the tax credits for research and development would stimulate the economy. We’re also hearing from people talking about tort reform; eliminating the uncertainties that are out there.”
Ultimately, McKinley says that businesses need certainty; something they are currently not getting from Barack Obama and his administration.
“In the business community as long as there is uncertainty you hesitate, and if you hesitate we fail,” said McKinley. “That is the biggest problem I have with Obama’s attack on the coal industry. He’s causing uncertainty in the industry, so they sit back waiting to find out ‘are you going to give me another hoop to jump through? Because I need to know what it is. That last hoop that you had that we weren’t expecting may be the one that cripples us.’ So they just wait until they think all the hoops have been established then they start their run.”
There is no doubt that McKinley is a supporter of the coal industry. He found out early on how much of an impact the industry has on the state economy.
“Having served on the House Finance Committee – I was the ranking Republican when I was in the Legislature – I dealt with the budget,” recounted McKinley. “I quickly came to grasp that the coal industry provides over a billion dollars of revenue to the State of West Virginia. You have to come to grips with that. 25 percent of all the revenue that comes in to operate state government comes from one industry: the coal industry. They are the first line of defense in many respects. If you attack the coal industry and you reduce the tax revenue that comes from it, then if you don’t cut services in state government or reduce costs then someone else has to pick up that burden.”
“This challenge from the Obama administration is threatening the fragile nature of our state’s economy,” added McKinley. “If look at first the cap and trade, that’s nothing more than a federal energy tax. It’s going to cause us to have increased utility bills, it’s going to effect senior citizens. Obama has been consistently on target to diminish the production and use of coal in this country.”
This isn’t just talk from someone trying to get in the coal industries good graces. McKinley and Associates, his architectural firm, uses a number of building products that make use of coal fly ash, a byproduct of coal.
“In our industry, the design business, we use a lot of fly ash because over the years the industry and Congress tried to put out certain guidelines to encourage the recycling of fly ash,” explained McKinley. “We use it in concrete, we use it in fills, roadway paving. We use it in drywall. But now they want to classify it as a hazardous material. That just opens up a whole can of worms. There is almost no recyclability if it’s hazardous material.”
McKinley sees these negative actions towards coal by the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency as hostile actions.
“When I talk to the coal people they call it death by a thousand slashes,” said McKinley. “The EPA is merely trying to stop the burning of coal. They’re going to do it through cap and trade, they’re going to do it through the fly ash, they’re going to do it through the Clean Air Act and emissions. Now, in the western states, they’re reconfiguring their permits for leasing land rights for coal production in Wyoming. It’s so clear this administration does not consider coal to be part of our energy independence.”
Should he get elected, McKinley plans to focus on getting people in West Virginia back to work through proven initiatives, such as tax breaks and incentives, instead of Obama’s economic experiments.
“We’ve seen enough after two years of the ideological fights,’ said McKinley. “That hasn’t worked. I don’t know that ideology is going to put anybody back to work. The only thing that is going to put people back to work are those construction workers and manufacturers. We need to get re-focused again. Quit pushing your ideologically-driven, theoretical concepts and get back to where we put people back to work. Let’s start looking at things that will put people back to work. If you listen to the manufacturers they’ll tell you what the problems are.”
To learn more about David McKinley, visit www.mckinley2010.com.
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Posted under Elections, Featured, Federal, News, Politics, U.S. House of Representatives.
Tags: Alan Mollohan, Barack Obama, David McKinley, Federal government of the United States, Newt Gingrich, Republican, United States, United States Congress, United States House of Representatives, West Virginia
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