Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 8, 2013

Invest in rural America, but what are the details?

CUMBERLAND — We should all thank Rep. David McKinley for his plan to help the people of this area (“Congress must initiate Main Street recovery,” May 1 Times-News).

Mr. McKinley has concluded that “Congress must recognize that spurring our economy to grow in a long-term, robust and dependable manner will allow us to balance the budget.”

Mr. McKinley also points out that although corporate welfare has resulted in Wall Street reaching record highs, rich people’s bonanza has not trickled down to rural America.

Although Mr. McKinley was short on details to help rural America, it is clear that Congress must shift its focus. Earlier this year, Time Magazine outlined the abuses in our nation’s health care system.

It now appears that Mr. McKinley is prepared to be our voice in Congress to end the policies that allow the rich to get richer and the rest of us to pay the bill.

With Mr. McKinley standing up to the billionaire bullies, we can all receive the excellent health care which Mr. McKinley has provided for himself and other members of Congress.

Similarly, it is undisputable that every dollar we spend on education has a multiplier effect on our economy.

Better schools with today’s technologies will allow rural America to compete in the world market.

Competitive wages for teachers will continue to attract excellent individuals to the teaching profession.

And of course a persistent problem in rural America is basic tools such as roads, water and sewer and high-tech communication capabilities.

As a member of Congress in the 1980s, I served as the chairman of the Bipartisan Rural Caucus.

The problems we faced then have continued to haunt us today.

For example, during my time in Congress the people of eastern West Virginia were promised that Corridor H would be built. Thirty years later, the road remains incomplete.

With completion of Corridor H, a four-lane highway between Interstate 68 and the new highway would provide the opportunity for economic growth.

We should all ask Mr. McKinley for the details of his plans to spur our rural economy in a “longterm, robust and dependable manner.” Such plans will not only benefit West Virginia, but this entire region.

Mr. McKinley is right. The “Fat Cats” on Wall Street have had their day. They could not spend all the money we have given to them in their lifetime. Now is the time to invest in rural America.

Harley O. Staggers Jr.

Former congressman

Keyser, W.Va.

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