Posts Tagged ‘Goshen News’

Congressman chats with residents

February 13, 2008

From the Goshen News:

By JESSE DAVIS

[Donnelly Watch comments in Red]

Illegal immigration, energy independence, jobs and the War in Iraq were the biggest concerns local residents raised with Congressman Joe Donnelly, D-IN, during his “Congress on your Corner” session at Martin’s Supermarket in Goshen Sunday afternoon.

Dixie Robinson, city councilwoman for Goshen’s 2nd District, was among the first to broach the issue of illegal immigration, which dominated much of the discussion. She commented that local government argues that it is a federal problem and the federal government underenforces its own policies. Donnelly concurred regarding the federal level.

“It seems as though everybody has got their act together except for the federal guys,” Donnelly said, adding that in 2005 there were only three enforcement cases, “which is effectively zero enforcement.”

Donnelly has been a vocal supporter of the SAVE Act, a “three-part plan to drastically reduce illegal immigration by securing our borders, requiring employer verification of prospective employees’ legal status, and bolstering resources needed for enforcement of our immigration laws,” according to a statement released by his office Wednesday. He also confirmed for one attendee that Indiana only employs four ICE agents.

Other issues raised by attendees with regard to the immigration problem were drunk drivers, unlicensed drivers, crowded post offices on Friday afternoons due to Hispanics sending money home, the flooding of the job market with workers and an increase in signs written in Spanish.

[Ok, so immigration is definitely an important issue. But Donnelly’s one-dimensional ‘enforcement’ position reduces immigration to an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality and ignores the larger, quite complex factors at play. Donnelly’s inability (or unwillingness) to stand for principles of human rights and speak to the reality of gross international economic inequality as a primary element to this whole issue is indicative of his overall behavior as our Congressman thus far.]

The importance of energy independence also drew many comments. According to Donnelly, the biggest problems with the United States’ current situation are the exporting of oil from Alaska to Japan and the oil industry’s connection with the Middle East.

“We’re paying for our own war effort, then turning to Saudi sheiks and buying their oil. It’s like we’re funding both sides,” he said.

[I guess the above statement attributed to Donnelly constitutes this articles coverage of the discussion of the Iraq War. What about Donnelly’s votes in regard to the War in Iraq?]

Donnelly suggested several options to begin the trek to energy independence, commenting on his publicly stated position that the United States should be drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Pointing to the future, he explained that five years from now, ethanol will be manufactured from corn stalks alone, allowing the actual corn to be used for its original purposes and bringing the cost of grain back down.

[Joe, biofuels (or more accurately agro-fuels) are not a sustainable solution. Carbon emissions are a major problem and trying to switch one industrialized, privately-held, and centralized fuel source for another isn’t going to help us make the cultural changes so vital to our long-term survival as a species.]

Although attendance was initially light, 14 people had joined the discussion before its end.

“I thought it was great to have someone sit down with you and listen to your problems,” Robinson said.

When asked why he chose to hold a “Congress on your Corner” session in a location outside of his district, Donnelly stated his desire to ensure the ability of all his constituents to have access to him in order to express their concerns.

“More than anything, it’s about bringing the office to Goshen to hear the people and help work on their problems,” he said.