U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, offered a biting critique of Washington on Saturday when he met with area constituents.
The freshman congressman shook hands and spoke with more than 50 people who turned out for “Coffee with Keith” at the Corner Coffee Shoppe on Scalp Avenue in Richland Township.
His words were unyielding: Stop the Environmental Protection Agency from overregulating, protect Second Amendment guns rights and fight for local defense jobs.
On the EPA:
“Let’s stop overregulating. Let’s stop the EPA from shutting down coal mines. Let’s stop the EPA from shutting down power plants,” Rothfus said.
“The elites who run these agencies in Washington are not accountable. We need to hold them accountable in Congress.
“We need to continue to press the administration not to come up with regulations that are choking our businesses and driving our coal mines out of business,” he said.
“We’ll continue to do the oversight we need, too.”
On the Second Amendment:
“We have law-abiding citizens out here who handle weapons responsibly,” Rothfus said.
“We don’t need any legislation that’s going to turn people into criminals.
“We’re waiting to see what the Senate might put together,” he said. “But even the Senate bill that’s being debated right now would not have stopped the tragedy like the one in Newtown (Conn.) in December.
“We’ve got to be focused on mental health. We’ve got to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks,” he said.
“We don’t want any legislation that’s going to turn millions of law-abiding citizens into criminals overnight.”
“The house passed a budget two weeks ago that proposes funding defense over the next 10 years at the level the Joints Chiefs of Staff support,” Rothfus said. “We’ve got to do things efficiently.
“Look at some of the critical programs here that we’re working on. They’re being done efficiently,” he said.
“One of the great things about our region is that we can be a low cost provider. We have a competitive advantage here with the low cost of living.”
Roy “Jake” Jacobs, a disabled veteran from Windber, arrived with Thomas W. Haberkorn, who is president of Vietnam Veterans of America Inc. Pennsylvania State Council.
The two voiced concerns about medical care for veterans. They asked Rothfus to hold a meeting with local veterans to address their concerns.
“He’s already promised that will occur,” Jacobs said.
Cambria County President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said residents can expect to see Rothfus often.
“He wants to know what’s on our minds,” Lengenfelder said. “He’s making a huge effort to get out into our community.”
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