McKinley addresses budget cuts at Lincoln Day Dinner

Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., criticized some of President Barack Obama’s post-sequestration cuts during the Barbour County Lincoln Day Dinner, saying the cuts are hurtful.

He said since sequestration has passed, Obama has cut tours to the White House that were self-guided, and the president may eliminate the traditional Easter egg roll on the White House lawn.

Closer to home, McKinley also said the cuts may force the closing of three airport towers in West Virginia.

“When you start feeling the pain, then you’re going to start calling your congressmen and you’re going to say maybe we shouldn’t have sequestration,” McKinley said Saturday, adding he is against cuts that he believes are meant to be hurtful.

“He’s trying to scare people so that you don’t continue it,” he said.

McKinley said sequestration was a way to cut spending by $1.2 trillion.

“We’re trying to talk about how we’re going to reduce spending in Washington,” he said, but he added sequestration had one ultimate end result – reducing spending.

McKinley also said another way to reduce spending is by working more efficiently. He said a report conducted by the inspector general identified 16,000 issues in Washington of how simply working more efficiently could save as much as $64 billion.

“Just implement some of these recommendations,” McKinley said. “These are choices they’re making in Washington.”

He said he recently got a copy of a note saying a poll was being conducted at the Pentagon that could prevent the National Guard from providing security to 85,000 Boy Scouts coming to West Virginia for the National Jamboree.

“We want to give the best impression possible of our state, and the president pulling the plug four months out, it’s clear what he’s trying to do. We’ve got to stop it. I wish I could give you all the good news, but I’m frustrated with our party. I’m frustrated with where we’re going.”

McKinley was one of four speakers at the dinner. With concerns about gun control also weighing on the minds of many throughout the nation and the state, some of the speakers decided to voice their position on the issue. Sen. David Sypolt, R-Preston, said he was a strong advocate for the Second Amendment rights.

“If it’s in the Constitution, it’s not a privilege. It’s a right,” Sypolt said.

State Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas also supports the right to bear arms.

“Republicans stand with the Second Amendment while Democrats are trying to assault it,” Lucas said.

Most speakers agreed that change needs to happen. Delegate Randy E. Smith, R-Preston, said people have to come together as a state and a country.

Part of invoking changes requires that more people become involved.

“If you want to be significant in the state of West Virginia, you have to get involved,” Sypolt said. “If you’re not the solution, you’re part of the problem. If you don’t vote, you’re letting it happen. We can’t keep letting it happen.”

McKinley also said communication between citizens and their government is the key.

“Let’s make sure we start building bridges and talk to each other, and stop this polarization that takes place all across America,” McKinley said. “Let’s talk to each other.”

Sypolt said he receives and welcomes many emails or calls from citizens concerned about various issues.

“It lets you know the public is out there watching what we do. I think what’s the only thing that makes government good is when the public watches.”