The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Staff Photo by Charles Boothe:
Former Sen. George Allen was in Rocky Mount Thursday morning to officially open the GOP headquarters at the N. Morris Building on South Main Street. Allen cut the ribbon with, from left, Kathy Ferguson, Beth Hammond and Del. Charles Poindexter.
Friday, August 10, 2012
By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer
"Trusting free people and free enterprise" was the message former U.S. Sen. George Allen delivered in Rocky Mount Thursday morning.
Allen, a Republican running against former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb, was in town to help officially open Franklin County's GOP campaign headquarters.
Allen, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, lost the seat to Webb in 2006.
"Right now, the promise of the American dream is being diminished," Allen told a crowd of about 100 supporters.
The growth of government and more regulations make it more difficult to even own a house, he said, and his opponent's solution is to raise taxes and spend more money.
"Raising taxes would cost more jobs," he said, adding that Kaine and President Barack Obama want to cut spending where it could hurt the worst -- in the military.
"The main responsibility of the federal government is national defense," he said, and cutting back would not only put that defense in jeopardy, it would also mean lost jobs.
Allen said more than 200,000 military related jobs in Virginia could be lost under the policies of the Obama Administration. And more jobs will also be lost with Kaine and the President's stance on energy, he added.
"Southwest Virginia lives or dies (economically) with the outcome of this election," he said, referring to the federal government's increasing regulations on coal. Many industries benefit from coal, including the railroad, and electric rates will go up even more as less coal is used because of those regulations, Allen said.
Clean-coal technology is the answer to any pollution issues, he added.
Expanding domestic production of energy is a priority, Allen said.
The first bill he will introduce in the U.S. Senate would allow the production of natural gas and oil off the coast of Virginia, Allen said. Money from that production could eventually be used to make sure the proposed Interstate 73, which would run through Franklin County, is built.
"Interstate 73 is a vital link to bring jobs to the region," he said.
Allen, who is actively supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, also blasted the President's views on business, referring to Obama's statement in Roanoke recently when he told business owners that "you didn't build that."
"Your business is successful because of your hard work," Allen said after asking how many in attendance owned a business.
Allen said one man he met while campaigning may have put it best when he said his business was successful "in spite of the government."
Obamacare also surfaced during Allen's speech.
"Tim Kaine said Obamacare is a great achievement," Allen said. "I want to be the 51st vote to repeal Obamacare."
Allen said the health care law does have some provisions that can work, like extending dependent coverage to 26 years old, but the overall effects will make health care more expensive, put businesses in a position to save money by paying a tax rather than providing insurance to employees and take medical decisions out of the hands of individuals and doctors.
"I like to see people in control of their insurance and doctors making medical decisions, not bureaucrats in Washington rationing care," he said.
Allen asked a local businesswoman, Karen Hicks with Franklin Respiratory and Medical in Rocky Mount, to give her assessment of the effects of Obamacare. Hicks said the health care law has six components that "will cut our reimbursements" from Medicare, after they have already been cut by 42 percent in recent years.
"We are fighting for our lives," she said, adding that if Obamacare continues, people will have nowhere to go to get needed medical supplies because businesses will not be able to survive.
Del. Charles Poindexter, who introduced Allen, also blasted Kaine and the Obama Administration.
"I know him (Kaine) well," he said. "I worked with him. I was there when he closed the rest stops."
Poindexter said rest stops along Virginia's highways were closed to save about $8 million, but when legislators dug into the money the Virginia Department of Transportation had in its bank account, they found $1.5 billion.
"We found $1.5 billion, but couldn't spend $8 million (to keep the rest stops open)," he said.
Poindexter said the national defense is being "gutted" because the nation is "spending itself to death on the social side."
"This election offers the clearest distinctions (between candidates) maybe ever," he said.
Allen agreed, saying the upcoming election is "our generation's rendezvous with destiny."
Allen also said his election, as well as the presidential election, "will be tight" and every vote counts.
"I'll use a racing analogy and say it's going to be door-to-door," he said, adding Rep. Robert Hurt, though, will be "leading by several laps" in his bid to retain his seat in Congress.
"Every single vote matters," Allen said.
On the campaign trail, Allen said he asked one Virginia resident what he expected from the federal government.
"He said he wants the federal government to 'get off my back and out of my pocket'," Allen said. "That's the voice I want to take to Washington, D.C."