Hurt vows to listen if elected

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By John Barnhart

Robert Hurt, the man Republicans hope will replace Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello next year, spent much of Thursday campaigning in Bedford County. The day ended with a barbeque reception at Delegate Lacey Putney’s house, attended by about 350 people.

    Hurt believes that Perriello has turned a deaf ear to the concerns of the people in the 5th  District he represents in Washington. He cited Perriello’s vote in favor of President Obama’s healthcare bill as an example.
    “People in the 5th District begged him not to do that,” Hurt said.
    Hurt said that the district needs somebody in Washington who will listen to his constituents and vote according to their interests and values.
    He’s very concerned about the current level of federal debt. Hurt said that the national debt has run up to $13.1 trillion in an economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $14 trillion. He said that this level of government debt negatively impacts the amount of credit available to business. It’s also a burden that’s being passed on to future generations and could eventually put the United States in the same position in which Greece found itself this year — teetering on the brink of a sovereign debt default.
    “It is supreme arrogance to think that you can borrow money that you can’t pay back,” said Hurt.
    Hurt believes that people want deficit spending eliminated and both taxes and spending reduced.
    “We need to make that change,” Hurt said.
    Replacing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, is also important, he said. Hurt said that a Republican majority will mean that she will be gone. He said that his party has a good selection of leaders who could do a good job as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
    Hurt said that his election is important to help make that happen. He said that, although polls show him leading Perriello, he intends to run as if he were 20 points behind. Hurt said that he’s focusing his campaign on talking about jobs.
    According to Hurt, the private sector, not the government, creates jobs. The government’s role is to help by becoming smaller and less expensive. It needs to become less of a burden on business.
    Hurt calls for streamlining government regulation and lowering the corporate income tax which, he notes, is the highest in the world. He also wants to look at depreciation schedules for business investments, altering them so that they encourage investment. Hurt also favors eliminating capital gains taxes.
    Robert Hurt is not a fan of President Obama’s healthcare bill, which he said amounts to taking a sledge hammer to the existing health care system and destroying it. He said that this level of government meddling in healthcare will cause costs to rise while the quality of care drops. Hurt commented that he’s seeing reports of health insurance costs going up by as much as 30 percent.
    He believes that the problems the healthcare bill poses can be addressed by funding. Spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives and the House could refuse to fund things.
    Hurt also has a low opinion of the finance reform bill that Congress passed, and the president signed. He said that this legislation will result in 5,000 pages of new regulations. In spite of this, it won’t help small local banks at all. According to Hurt, it’s an example of Washington being totally unconnected to what is actually needed.
    Hurt notes Perriello’s vote on cap and trade last year. The legislation is currently dead in the water in the Senate, but Hurt is concerned that the Senate could end up passing it in a lame duck session after the November election.
    “We have seen what members of Congress think of their constituents,” Hurt said, referring to the House vote on the bill.
    Hurt does believe that the country should have an energy policy, but that policy should take an “all of the above” approach. This means gas, coal, oil, nuclear and alternative energy sources.
    Cap and trade, however, should not be part of an energy policy. Hurt said that this would make energy costs skyrocket and be a job killer.
    “We have to keep in mind that energy costs affect our daily lives,” he said.
    “We are going to say to the little old lady, who lives on a Social Security check, ‘Can you please turn your thermostat down?’” Hurt commented, explaining how cap and trade would impact people.