Hopefuls hold forth on transportation and drilling
Here’s where the House District 61 candidates stand on some issues:• On transportation, they differ on the idea of imposing road tolls.Dale Reed said he supports the use of tolls in selected areas. Eisenhower Tunnel may be one of those places, especially if the tunnels need to be expanded or a new tunnel has to be created, he said.Kathleen Curry said that with gasoline costs being high, it may not be a good time to talk about a gas tax increase. But she doesn’t like tolls and said the state needs to look at other funding options instead.Becky Rippy said she doesn’t like tolls either, but would consider them later if they were needed. She worried that tolls would hurt tourism, but added that they would help make tourists pay for damages to highways.• On natural gas drilling, Curry called for more support for landowners impacted by drilling.Rippy said she would continue to meet with landowners to better learn their needs, and would explore how the legislature could respond.Reed said he favors more of a shift toward renewable and sustainable energy sources as alternatives to natural gas, so there’s less need for drilling.• On political philosophy, Curry said she has been a Democrat all her life, mainly due to her belief in the need for separation between church and state.”I couldn’t be in the other party because I feel like there’s too much of a mix on that front. That’s the bottom line for me,” she said.Reed said he was a Democrat and Republican before becoming a Libertarian. His concern about government bloat explains his current party membership.”Republicans talked about reducing the size of the government but it didn’t seem to happen,” he said.Rippy also expressed a concern about government bureaucracy and overregulation, as it pertains to fields such as health care. Doctors face too many documentation requirements and are paid 60 cents on the dollar for services by Medicaid even as they are required to fill out big forms, she said.She said government mandates also are impacting the human service field, in which she works.”We’re spending all of our time in the office and none of our time with direct care.”Curry agreed that government efficiency should be a priority, but said she wonders how the state budget can be made much leaner.”We’re not able to pay for the services that people want now. … We’re already at bare bones.”Reed said people need to take more responsibility for things such as their health and safety. “We maybe don’t have to demand so much government all the time,” he said.- By Dennis Webb
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