By Ron Gregory
LOGAN — West Virginia Third District Congressman Nick Rahall continued his tradition of direct contact with constituents in a visit Tuesday to Logan. The 37-year incumbent was in Logan to hear from various groups and organizations.
Before he addressed an audience in Logan, Rahall, members of the Mingo County delegation to the West Virginia Legislature and others participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at Naugatuck for a Mingo County Public Service District water line extension. The congressman and legislators had all helped procure funding for the project from state and federal sources.
“Each year, I fight for more funding from the House Appropriations Committee to invest more in water and sewer system construction,” Rahall said. “Make no mistake: these funds we celebrate today are investments.
“In addition to improving family health, enhancing our quality of life, increasing property values, and lowering insurance rates, these kinds of infrastructure improvements create thousands of jobs during the construction phase, leverage billions of dollars in private-sector investment, and help to ensure a solid foundation for future businesses and long-term jobs,” the congressman said.
“At every opportunity, I have, and will continue to advocate federal investments in programs supporting this most basic of human infrastructure needs,” he said.
“I believe our nation must continue making investments until we reach a time when every faucet flows as expected with clean, clear, and drinkable water,” Rahall said. “And that certainly includes every faucet between Naugatuck and East Kermit.”
In a question-and-answer session at the Logan American Legion Post 19, the veteran Democrat congressman discussed issues of concern for those gathered.
A primary discussion centered on Route 10 between Logan and Man. Logan state Sen. Art Kirkendoll, who also attended, said it “will be great to go from Logan to Man in 11 minutes” once the road is completed.
Rahall discussed his long-suffering efforts to upgrade the curvy highway to a four-lane corridor. He said the first appropriation he was able to receive from the federal government was met with skepticism by some outside West Virginia.
“They wondered why we would spend that kind of money on a road,” the congressman said.
“I told them that highway is the lifeblood of those communities and, if we were ever to diversify our economy and grow as a region, we had to have a modern-day highway,” Rahall said.
Other questions involved the Veterans Administration hospitals, the need for homeless shelters and other local issues. The congressman, appearing at ease in his surroundings, said he enjoys meeting with constituents “wherever I find them.”
A staff member sat nearby, taking notes so Rahall’s office can respond to the issues raised by those in attendance.
Another staff member in Washington, D.C., told a reporter Rahall “has always had a policy to go out into the district and meet with his constituents. He doesn’t always expect them to come to him; he often goes to them to find out about their issues and concerns.”