Congressional Profile: Marty Gearheart
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Over the next few weeks West Virginia Watchdog will be posting interviews with the Congressional candidates in West Virginia’s 1st and 3rd districts.
Republican Marty Gearheart is a common opponent of 3rd District Democrat Nick Rahall, running with no primary opposition in 2008. Gearheart believes the fourth time will be the charm.
A southern West Virginia entrepreneur, Gearheart understands the strains that businesses go through. With the recent health care reform legislation passed into Law, Gearheart says it could be a job killer.
“Personally, I don’t find the health care bill has anything to do with health care,” said Gearheart. “A lot of the details in the bill are anti-employment. I’m not in favor of additional taxation, which crushes a stumbling economy right now. I’m not absolutely sure about the legalities with the mandates. I find very little in the bill that is worthy of being passed.”
“I attended all five of the health care seminars that Mr. Rahall put on,” recounted Gearheart. “He will tell you that the people of southern West Virginia wanted this bill. I was at every minute of the same ones and I didn’t hear the same thing. What I heard people say is the cost of health care insurance is too high, but we don’t want the government on our back when it comes to health care.”
Gearheart says the solutions to rising health insurance costs are interstate competition, tort reform, and health savings accounts.
“I have advocated market-based items that create competition…that allow people methods to protect themselves, but allow them to use their own dollars when it comes to health care to make purchasing decisions to make a better situations,” explained Gearheart. “I think it’s massively important to encourage – with tax credits – employer pay into medical savings accounts that allow people to develope a pool of their own money to spend on health care. Couple that with catastrophic care policies. I would prefer employers to take money they’re currently spending in employer-sponsored plans and put that into the employee’s hands to purchase catastrophic care policies so you do have long-term protection against the things that create the massive amounts of debt they do, while you have dollars of your own to spend.
An effort to repeal the bill is something Gearheart supports, but adds that all avenues needs to be looked at to kill the bill.
“You have to take a multi-pronged effort towards things you oppose,” said Gearheart. “If there was an repeal effort I would be a participant and I would have no problem being a sponsor of that kind of activity. Rather than go at repealing it, we should simply win in November and not fund it. You can’t enact legislation you can’t pay for. I’m quite in favor of the lawsuit challenges. All of those approaches need to be taken.”
Gearheart wants to put a stop to unnecessary spending, but admits that Republicans have been a part of the problem.
“I think we need to elect people who won’t get away from the core values when it comes to spending money,” said Gearheart. “You mentioned that the Republicans increased the deficit and we absolutely did. Once you get into power it’s very easy to go that way. I do think we need to reenact the Bush tax cuts. We need to put more money in the hands of people and in the economy to stimulate what we’re doing. We need to use the Reagan model and bring more money into the treasury at lower rates instead of increased taxation. And we need to line-by-line go through our spending circumstances. We need to look at programs that are not effective and get rid of them.”
Regulations, says Gearheart, are having a drastic effect on businesses. He calls for a systematic look at all regulations in order to spur economic growth.
“I think we need to get government out of the way,” said Gearheart. “The most successful things that happen in Washington happen when Congress is in recess. However, I think we have established such a layer of burden on business. We need to roll back some of the regulations from that that aren’t so onerous to things that are more reasonable. Government is supposed to establish fair play; they’re not supposed to be a participant in the economy.”
Part of the problems, in regards to regulations, is the Environmental Protection Agency. Gearheart says the agency needs to have more oversight by Congress.
“What is happening with the EPA we knew was going to happen,’ said Gearheart. “I think legislatively we have reign in the EPA. We have to refine their role when it comes to issuing permits. We may need to redefine the language of the Clean Water Act. All of these things need to be done very specifically. I have no problem regulating water flow and ensuring we have legitamte drinking supplies. I drink water like everyone else does. However, I don’t think it’s been found that we we’re having problems with the way coal is mined now.”
Posted under Elections, Featured, Federal, News, Politics, U.S. House of Representatives.
Tags: Congress, Health Care Reform, Health insurance, Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, Marty Gearheart, Nick Rahall, Politics, United States, United States Congress, West Virginia
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