The Parthenon

Rahall visits Marshall to talk about upcoming election

Emily Rice, Reporter

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Congressman Nick Rahall visited Marshall University’s campus Wednesday to talk to students about his campaign and answer questions.

A main topic of the conversation was the Congressman’s plans for the future if he were to be reelected. Rahall said he plans to continue to put an emphasis on funding the infrastructure of the state to create jobs in the long run.

“My opinion is that it should be a six-year, long term, robust bill that is well funded,” Rahall said. “That is what our job creators need: long-term certainty. My plan in that bill is to make sure that West Virginia maintains, if we cannot improve upon, what we already get out of the highway trust fund.”

Rahall attributes, in part, his seniority in Congress to the amount of money West Virginia receives for its highways and roads.

“West Virginia gets $2.17 for every one dollar our state pays into that highway trust fund and gas taxes,” Rahall said. “That is a darn good return for a small state like West Virginia, and it is because I am there protecting it and working for it.”

One of the trademarks of his time in Congress is his effort to diversify the economy of the state, according to Rahall. He also mentioned his effort to legislation in the 1980’s that created the New River Gorge national recreation area, which is the largest system of protected area east of the Mississippi River.

“I have no doubt that is a major anchor that drew the Boy Scouts of America to southern West Virginia for their permanent home,” Rahall said. “That is an area where I have been successful in diversifying our economy so there are other jobs besides just coal, and that is what we have to continue to do.”

While Rahall is attempting to diversify the job market, he is still a strong supporter of the coal industry.

“I don’t downplay coal, and I’ll take a backseat to no one on that issue,” Rahall said. “There is no one person who is going to be able to halt the coal industry for the future. It is too vital to our nation’s national energy security. We cannot go back to the days of depending on foreign oil.”

Congressman Rahall expanded on the topic of energy sources, saying that while he believes coal is the most reliable energy source, other sources need to be addressed as well.

“We have to continue to develop our coal as the most dependable,

affordable and reliable source of domestic energy,” Rahall said. “We need to use all of our domestic energy sources, whether it is coal or natural gas, nuclear, uranium, wind, solar or renewables—all of the above—as long as they are domestic sources of energy and coal is going to be right there at the top.”

Freshman Katie Correveau said she appreciated the time Rahall took to speak to students about these important issues.

“It meant a lot to me to have someone like Congressman Rahall here today,” Correveau said. “He works so hard for not only the people of West Virginia, but West Virginia students as well.”

Rahall also emphasized the importance of exercising the right to vote at the polls this year and addressed some of the frustration felt by citizens.

“I get the anger at the administration and at the government, and the frustration that is out there,” Rahall said. “I see it everyday, then when I also hear the statement that follows, ‘That’s why I don’t vote,’ that is what I don’t get. Not voting does not solve anything, it does not make the world a better place, and it does not kick out the bad guys in office.”

Emily Rice can be contacted at [email protected] edu.

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