Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., met recently with four members of the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce - Roxanne Tuesing, Patrick Darlington, Kim Bennett and Jessica Scowcroft - to discuss the county's most pressing needs at the Canaan Valley Institute.
Tuesing, chamber president and executive director of the Tucker County Senior Citizens, said McKinley has been speaking with members of each of the counties that he serves in order to establish a better understanding of what they need.
"He took the time to listen to what we had to say," Tuesing said. "He did not make any promises, but he was sincere."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Hoover
Members of the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce meet with Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., to discuss what Tucker County needs from Washington. Pictured, from left, are Patrick Darlington, Roxanne Tuesing, McKinley, Kim Bennett and Jessica Scowcroft.
"I felt like he genuinely wanted to know our opinions and our concerns. And, I think he will do his best to address them."
The completion of Corridor H was one of the most important issues discussed during the meeting, Darlington, Tuesing and Bennett said.
Corridor H will make the region much more accessible, said Darlington, owner of Elkins and Parsons Performance Motors.
"The congressman understands this," he said. "He understands the importance of the project and the much-needed positive impact it will have on our economy."
Darlington said the Corridor H project is moving along, but securing full funding is always difficult.
Two other important issues discussed were Tucker County's lack of public transportation and insufficient health care, Tuesing said.
McKinley listened to their concerns, she continued, but he also was very frank about the issues he faces in Washington.
"We spoke about how the unbalanced budget and the fact that the government is operating on a continuing resolution can make it very difficult to make plans," Tuesing said.
Bennett, chamber vice president, said McKinley also explained how some of the Environmental Protection Agency's constraints are a considerable obstacle for West Virginia's economy.
For example, Bennett said fly ash, a coal combustion by-product, is being investigated by the EPA, even though it already is used in a variety of products, like certain fertilizers or sheetrocks.
Such incorporation into marketable products is one of the primary methods of disposal for fly ash. Coal-powered electricity plants, for example, rely on it to avoid spending extra money on other methods of disposal.
However, if the EPA restricts fly ash use, the power plants will have to pay for disposal.
"The congressman said this could cause electricity rates to increase significantly," Bennett said.
She said McKinley brought this issue and others into the conversation so that they would have a clearer understanding of the complex processes that characterize the underpinnings of Washington politics.
All in all, the meeting was a success.
Darlington said he left the meeting with a very positive feeling.
"I think our concerns were heard," he said.
Tuesing said she has been in Tucker County for 30 years and she has never had a face-to-face conversation with a congressional representative.
"I thought it was a very informative meeting," she said. "I was honored to be able to attend."