McKinley Visits Tyler County
MIDDLEBOURNE – Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., paid a visit recently to Tyler County to talk about the promise America has to offer despite the current state of affairs.
McKinley, who is running for re-election, spoke with Tyler Consolidated High School students who were impressed with his ability to work across party lines to do what’s best.
“He’s the kind of person who doesn’t go full-out Republican or full-out Democrat,” said Thomas Jackson, a senior, who plans to vote in November’s general election. “He cares about America and West Virginia.”
McKinley also talked with senior citizens during lunch at the Sistersville Senior Center.
“I think the congressman made some good points about some of the issues facing our state,” said Vivian Rial, coordinator at the senior center. “We appreciate his visit.”
McKinley said his visit to Tyler County among other areas in the northern panhandle is part of an ongoing plan to listen to constituents and learn more what message they would like congress to hear.
“We sit down with groups to see if they want to get a message back to Washington or to hear what’s going on there,” McKinley said of his 34th visit to Tyler County. “One way or the other, this is a series of communication that we’re trying to do. It’s a commitment. We’re making sure that people hear not only about what we’re trying to do in Washington, but more importantly what is on their minds.”
Politics is politics, particularly in a presidential election year. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump enjoys a sizeable lead over his remaining competitors. Some GOP politicos have expressed alarm, but not McKinley.
“I’m not alarmed by him, but he’s not my favorite candidate,” he said. “I’ve always wanted a presidential candidate who had gubernatorial experience.”
Though McKinley said he likes Ohio Governor John Kasich, he would support whoever the eventual nominee will be.
“I’m still holding out hope that Kasich will emerge,” said McKinley, who has yet to officially endorse any presidential candidate.
“If Trump is the candidate, then he’s the candidate. I don’t think we should panic because he has indeed shown an ability to run a big corporation.”
McKinley represented the 3rd District in the House of Delegates between 1980 and 1994. He was chairman of West Virginia’s Republican Party between 1990 and 1994. McKinley defeated former state Senator Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia, in his bid for the 1st Congressional District in 2010. He was considered a possible gubernatorial candidate, but he opted instead to run for re-election to a fourth term in congress. His opponent in November’s general election will be former state Rep. Mike Manypenny, D-Grafton, who is running unopposed in the Democratic Primary.
Though McKinley is very familiar with state and national politics, he admits this presidential election is different than anything he’s seen.
“It’s a new politics, a new era,” he said. “People are angry. Trump has tapped into that. I think it is incumbent on us to learn from that and solve some of these problems instead of keep kicking the can down the road. We got to do that. I think Trump has been a good impetus for us to do that.”
McKinley’s signature issue is his dogged determination to reduce the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s increased power through regulations never approved by congress, but authorized and supported the executive order from President Obama. In recent years, McKinley has led the charge against the EPA greenhouse gas regulations that have dealt a devastating blow not only to the nation’s coal-fired power plants, but coal mining industry in the Ohio Valley and across the nation.
McKinley said the Obama administration has bypassed congress to enact anti-coal policies.
“I think people need to understand how important this election is,” he said. “I don’t think they do. Until I went to Congress, I didn’t understand how important a role the presidency is. The President has learned over the last seven years that he doesn’t need to work with Congress. He enacts all his policies on environmental reform by executive order A President can use the EPA – any governmental agency – to affect all the policies that he wants and we can’t override that.”
McKinley said presidential and congressional candidates need to focus on national security, economic development/regulatory reform, health care, reducing poverty and the Constitution checking presidential overreach.
“We’ve got quite a fight ahead of us, but if we can focus on those then I think it will help set the tone for the rest of this presidential campaign,” he said. “There should be no more talk of some this silly stuff they say in debates. The talk should be about more substantive issues.”
When McKinley spoke to seniors at TCHS, he asked, “Do you think that you will have an equal or better quality of life than your parents?”
Not many students hands went in the air to express their optimism that things will get better.
“They’ve lost the American dream,” he said. “They don’t believe in it anymore. They don’t think the things they do will achieve it. What we’ve got to do is re-instill it. That’s why I’m spending time with you. I want you to believe in the American dream.”
McKinley made a reference to “shining city” from President Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech in 1988 so as to inspire the seniors. McKinley said only 15 percent of students nationwide think that their quality of life will be better than their parents.
“Things are going to happen that will make us powerful again,” he said. “We are going to be that shining city on the hill. I don’t want to accept the notion that our best days are behind us. Unfortunately, only 15 percent believe things will improve. I think we can reverse that. We better if we want to be that nation that is a leader in the world where people turn to us as Americans and say, ‘I want to be innovative and that’s where I’m going to do it’ – people who are willing to take the risk and not be afraid of failing.”
McKinley said though he was having more “fun” as a civil engineer, he decided he wanted to make a difference by serving in congress. The Congressman expresses his desire to do what’s right for not only the nation, but West Virginia.
“There’s time to think that it’s not about us anymore. It’s about our country,” he said. “I got out of my comfort zone by doing what I think was right long term. I hope that will encourage other people to get involved in the process.”
Jessica Kimble asked the Congressman many questions ranging from Right-to-Work to Social Security reform.
“I learned a lot about what’s coming for West Virginia and what he’s doing to protect a lot of the resources in our area,” she said. “I was very impressed with his presentation.”
Savannah Wright said she has done research on many issues affecting the nation.
“I like him. I think he has a lot of valid points and I agree with him on every question I asked,” said Wright, who aspires to be an attorney.
Jackson said he was impressed with McKinley’s candor and passion for the Mountain State.
“I learned not so much his political views, but how he wants to improve West Virginia,” he said. “I feel that is a very strong point about him and I like that.”
Jackson said he will talk to his family about McKinley’s visit.
“I had a lot more stereotypical view of congress before this visit I’m not going to lie but I can see that he was a lot more than what I anticipated,” he said. “He cares a lot more about the jobs thing. And it’s not so much the nitpicky things that we see in the media, social media and the news. He actually gets down into the issues.”