By Mike Scott
United States Senator Kit Bond visited the area last week, cutting the ribbon at the Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission building in Memphis on Wednesday afternoon. The NEMO RPC recently purchased the second half of the former school building.
Bond also welcomed Nate Walker, the new executive director of the RPC, to his position.
After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, Bond addressed the RPC board and guests, addressing topics ranging from national defense and intelligence to health care to energy.
Discussing the war in Iraq, Bond said, “ Unfortunately there has been a lot of misinformation in the nation media. The new strategy is working, and it is working as everyone hoped. Working with Iraqi forces, our forces have secured many important areas, especially in Suni areas. Al-Queda had taken over Al Anbar province and was planning to make it its headquarters. We know that if we had withdrawn, there would have been chaos, mass murder and genocide. If Al-Queda got access to the country’s oil revenue, they could gain resources that could threaten the United States.”
“In the battle against terrorists, we need good intelligence,” Bond continued. “Make no mistake about it--Al-Queda still has its target on the United States.”
Bond co-sponsored The Protect America Act, which was passed by the Senate and House, and signed by President Bush in August, to strengthen intelligence gathering.
“The Protect America Act’s passage is one of my proudest moments,” said Bond. “We have gather intelligence, and at the same time ensure the civil liberties of ordinary citizens are protected.”
Switching to energy concerns, Bond said, “We have made too many bad decision in energy, and not developed the resources we have. We are facing a shortfall we have brought about though legislation.”
Bond discussed the need to expand oil exploration, nuclear power and use clean coal technology to produce electricity.
“We are the Saudi Arabia of coal. We have 250 years of energy under our soil.”
He criticized the use of natural gas to generate electrify, saying it was like throwing antique furniture into the fireplace.
“There are better uses for it, like home heating,” Bond said.
Bond also discussed the need to improve water transportation in the midwest.
“Our farmers need adequate water transportation to access the world market. Our rivers provide the most economical and environmentally friendly method,” Bond said.
Urging improvement of the aging river infrastructure, Bond said, “If our locks on the Mississippi go out, we are in great trouble.”
“Health care is a challenge. We need to make sure everyone has health care available, but not have the federal government run the program,” Bond said. He favors tax credits to give individuals control of their health care decisions.
Discussing President Bush’s veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), he expects that congress will come back and pass a more modest bill which covers those in need without making all those under 25 “children” or including family incomes up to 400% of the
“We need SCHIP,” said Bond, “But I don’t agree with moving up to $82,000 income. That is putting us on the road to government-run health care.