Lake Spring Park is 9th district Republican Congressman Morgan Griffith’s favorite place. “This is where I started working,” he said. With redistricting now putting Griffith in the district he represents it was a fitting spot for one of three stops he made around the district on Monday.
Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-8) who took Griffith’s place in the General Assembly introduced both Congressman Bob Goodlatte and Griffith. Goodlatte said, “It’s a little bittersweet that the city of Salem that I represented for 20 years will be represented by [Griffith] going into the 9th district.” Goodlatte believed that Griffith being a resident of Salem made it appropriate that he should represent it.
Both Goodlatte and Griffith have espoused the usual themes of reigning in the federal government, over regulation and killing Obamacare and thus clearing the way for individual responsibility and free enterprise.
“The most important issue is to create an environment that makes it easier to create jobs in these United States.” We can do better “if we make federal regulations make sense and don’t strangle our job creators,” said Griffith. The trickle down of banking regulations to community banks has resulted in “such high standards of regulations that unless you clearly do not need the money you cannot borrow money.”
Griffith repeated how regulations are hurting entrepreneurs and businesses that are trying to expand. He admonished the current administration’s stance on energy – not allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built and restrictions on the use of coal.
“While the President can’t control everything that pushes gas prices up, there are things he can do.” Other oil-producing countries will lower their prices as they see the U.S. producing more, explained Griffith. “When speculators understand that the United States is serious – they will head to the hills … but right now they believe we are not serious.”
Griffith was asked why just days prior to the expiration of federal funding for transportation Congress only passed a 90-day extension. U.S. Senator Mark Warner, in a conference last week, voiced his frustration that the Senate’s two-year funding bill failed in congress. VDOT and their contractors have said the decision leaves them blinded by uncertainty as they try to prepare maintenance contracts and bids for new construction. Griffith to some degree believes, as did Sen. Mark Warner that funding should be for a five-year period.
Griffith said he has told his leadership that, “even if I don’t like parts of it – if we could get a five-year plan that is realistic I would support it … they’re working behind the scenes as we speak.” He stressed that “hopefully” this last 90-days would be the last extension. “Contractors don’t want to go out and buy a big piece of equipment when there is only 90-days worth of funding.”
It all boils down to “more” or “less” money to be spent. “It’s a reasonable fight to have but at some point you have to reach a compromise,” said Griffith. A two-year timeframe that the Senate proposed is helpful but doesn’t give the certainty for contractors that five-year funding gives.
Based on recent statements Griffith and Warner are not that far apart in their desire for long-term funding of transportation. It all comes down to how much to spend.
Griffith will face one of two Democratic opponents in November – either Anthony Flaccavento an organic farmer and owner of SCALE, Inc, a consulting firm or Jeremiah Heaton who ran as an independent in 2010. Both live in Abington.