Allard tested on war, more | PostIndependent.com

Allard tested on war, more

Carrie ClickPost Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – “Are there any airline pilots in the audience?” asked U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard with a laugh, as he stood in front of about 25 people attending his Garfield County town meeting Friday morning. Allard had just responded to a question posed by Dan Blankenship, Roaring Fork Transit Authority’s director, about the current state of the airline industry. He told the crowd he blamed some of the airlines’ woes on pilot salaries.”Some of those airline pilots make $300,000 a year,” he said, “and they only work 40 hours a month. That’s a month. The rest of us are working 40 hours a week for a lot less than that. I think that’s got to be changed.”Allard continued answering Blankenship’s question by saying he doesn’t support the hub system, where major airlines “monopolize hubs at airports. “I don’t think the customer is well-served by that system, and I would vote to change that,” he said.Allard stood in front of a crowd of about 25 people Friday morning at the Garfield County Courthouse Annex, answering questions on topics such as the war in Iraq and eradicating tamarisk. Allard’s Glenwood Springs’ appearance was the 14th town meeting the senator held since Monday. For the past week, Allard has been traveling through eastern Colorado, holding meetings at each county seat. In February, Allard visited eastern Colorado counties and conducted town meetings there. Depleted uranium Audience member Lou Mortensen questioned the senator about the use in Iraq of depleted uranium, a controversial coating that hardens weapons. She said many believe the material is highly toxic if it’s burned, exploded or broken down in any way. Allard continued to support use of depleted uranium.”Depleted uranium isn’t being used in tanks,” Allard said. “It’s being used to attack tanks, to penetrate, to go into bunkers underground. You’ll get more radiation being X-rayed than you’ll get around depleted uranium.””Well, we disagree,” said Mortensen, shaking her head.Audience member Steve Campbell was sitting next to Mortensen.”What if I could show you a tape called `The Invisible War’ that clearly shows the harmful effects of depleted uranium use?” he asked.”Look, I’m a scientist,” said Allard, a veterinarian. “I don’t need to look at a tape. The predominant view of the scientific community says it’s not harmful in its use as a hardening agent.” “If I gave you the tape, would you be willing to watch it?” asked Campbell. “It’s about an hour.””Probably not,” Allard said. “So you choose to be willfully ignorant,” Campbell said.”Let me explain something,” said Allard. “As a policy maker, I go with the predominant view of the scientific community. Scientists may disagree. But I go with the predominant view.” Effects of warGarfield County Commissioner Trsi Houpt asked the senator about the current situation in Iraq. “We’ve spent around $80 billion on the war so far,” Houpt said. “Will that affect spending on domestic programs?””Probably not,” said Allard, adding that he believes in the principle of supply and demand. “The war will stimulate the economy,” he said. “If you want to argue with me, you’re welcome to.” Audience member Joan Troth commended the senator on his swift reaction to the recent Air Force Academy scandal, in which up to 50 women have said they were raped by classmates. “I appreciate your efforts to see that the perpetrators are prosecuted,” Troth said, which led to a round of spontaneous applause from the crowd.”Thank you. I see the women here clapping, but I don’t see any men,” he said with a laugh, but became serious when the room grew quiet.”Things need to change,” said Allard, “There’s new leadership. And something not talked about in the media is that senior cadets are now going to be responsible for everyone below them. Whether they’re at a party on or off campus, it’ll be the senior cadet who will ultimately be held responsible if there are problems with drinking and drug abuse, or sexual assault.”Other issues discussed at the meeting included:-The current Patriot Act, which gives the president “superpower” as Allard put it, and how long the act would be in place. “It’s used in time of crisis like World War I, World War II and Korea,” he said. The Senate approved the act after Sept. 11 to find terrorist cells and organizations, he explained. Allard said he’d likely vote to extend the act but would vote to rescind it once the terrorist threat passed.-The airline industry’s current economic difficulties. “I’m not in favor of the hub system,” Allard said. “I don’t like subsidizing business.”-An update on the proposed bill by U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction, to combat tamarisk in drainages in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas and Utah. Garfield County Commissioner John Martin asked about the status of the bill to take on the thirsty, non-native plant to help with drought control, and improve wildlife habitat and native vegetation growth. “I’m in support of it,” Allard said.Following the hour-long meeting, Allard headed upvalley for his last town meeting on this year’s tour, in Snowmass Village. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com


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