Mooney talks with constituents
MARTINSBURG — U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-Charles Town, says he’s all ears to hear what his constituents have to say.
To that end, Mooney listened to questions and complaints in a one-hour “telephone town hall meeting “ conducted on Tuesday. Mooney fielded questions from residents living in the 17 counties he represents on topics ranging from health care, to jobs to illegal immigration, to opioid addiction to taxes.
Mooney represents West Virginia’s 2nd District.
Richard Kale of Wirt County asked Mooney his thoughts on “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” the federal program that President Donald Trump announced Tuesday would be discontinued.
In response, Mooney echoed the president’s comments, saying the act was in fact passed illegally by President Barrack Obama.
“President Obama completely over reached when he passed that,” Mooney said. “We need to have border security first before there’s talk of any kind of amnesty “
A caller named Tim from Kanawha County, asked Mooney where he stands on the proposed repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act enacted by President Obama.
“I made it clear when I asked for this job that I would vote to repeal Obamacare,” Mooney said. “I have done so — I am for a full repeal. I actually think we need to repeal and replace (Obamacare.) My goal is to get prices down and give people choices. And it starts with its repeal.”
A resident of Randolph County named Barbara asked Mooney whether he could help in citizens’ efforts to extend the county’s mandatory recovery stay for substance abuse victims. She said residents who are arrested for a drug violation typically are only retained for 2-3 days of treatment before they’re released.
“Its there anything that could be done to hold them longer, to not let them go, to try to get them help that they need?” Barbara asked.
According to Mooney, the federal government may be able to help on the enforcement side of the illegal drug use issue.
“The federal government did get some enforcement dollars for the drug trade that was coming down the I-81 corridor to West Virginia from Baltimore,” Mooney said.
On the local level, Mooney said he has learned that communities are stepping up to provide emergency foster care when children are involved in an illegal drug use arrest.
“It sounds like we need more long term drug (rehabilitation) facilities,” Mooney said. ” I am of the opinion that they (illegal drug users) be put between a rock and a hard place. They either need to go to jail, or to rehab.”
A caller named Scott from Lewis County asked Mooney what plans he had for providing West Virginian “economic diversity” by helping to develop other energy related industries to offset the loss in the state’s coal industry.
Mooney said he still plans to “fight for those coal jobs to come back,” but is also working to develop alternative energy jobs.
“There’s a new methanol plan that is opening in Kanawha County that will bring hundreds of jobs to that area,” Mooney said. “We need to keep working on these types of jobs in West Virginia. About a year ago, there was a ground breaking on a new Procter & Gamble facility in the Martinsburg area in Berkeley County. That’s hundreds, even thousands, of potential jobs that are coming there.”
According to Mooney, the state’s real economic backbone is to be found in small businesses.
“We have to look for ways to bring small businesses here — 20 to 30 jobs at a time,” Mooney said. “That’s one of things that we’re working on with tax reform here — to cut taxes on businesses and corporation. But I can guarantee that if we start talking about talk reform and tax cuts, there will be misunderstandings and political attacks, saying you’re cutting for the rich and for corporations. But tax cuts bring the jobs that you’re talking about.”
A caller from Berkeley County asked for Mooney’s help in getting his Army veteran son a hip replacement, which the caller claims has been delayed several times by the Veterans Administration in Morgan County.
“One thing that we can all agree on is that our veterans need to be taken care of — it’s not a partisan issue,” Mooney said.
Staff writer Jim McConville can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 215, or Twitter@jmcconvilleJN.