Woodall talks is­sues lead­ing up to town hall

The Covington News - - Front page - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­news.com

New­ton County res­i­dents had a chance to tell U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) ex­actly what they thought at a town hall meet­ing Tues­day night, and he said he’s thrilled to hear it.

“I want folks to know the only rea­son I have this job is to take their phone calls,” Woodall said in an in­ter­view Tues­day af­ter­noon. “Hav­ing these town hall meet­ings and be­ing out and about, some­times folks are up­set, some­times they’re happy, it’s the same emo­tions we all have in each of our own fam­i­lies. So to be able to get that mes­sage from vot­ers com­pletely un­fil­tered (is great).”

Woodall said he’s al­ways skep­ti­cal of ag­gre­gate views from or­ga­ni­za­tions. He wants to hear from

in­di­vid­ual teacher and se­niors, not nec­es­sar­ily from the teach­ers unions or the AARP.

Woodall rep­re­sents the 7th con­gres­sional district in Ge­or­gia, which con­tains north­ern New­ton County, as well as all of Bar­row and Wal­ton, most of Gwin­nett and a por­tion of Fo­rysth coun­ties. New­ton was the only county that Woodall lost in Novem­ber’s elec­tion.

“Folks very much re­sponded to the Demo­cratic mes­sage in my part of New­ton County,” Woodall said. “That al­ways makes the con­ver­sa­tion in­ter­est­ing, be­cause bal­ance is im­por­tant. Iron hard­ens steel. You want folks to come out and share opin­ions. You rep­re­sent ev­ery­body; it doesn’t mat­ter whether they voted for you or not. I al­ways look for­ward to be­ing in New­ton, be­cause I know I’m go­ing to hear some things I may not hear in other parts of the district.”

The fed­eral bud­get has been a dom­i­nant po­lit­i­cal topic re­cently, and Woodall is in the thick of the dis­cus­sion as he serves on the house’s bud­get com­mit­tee. He said he was pleased with the fis­cal year 2012 ver­sion the house ap­proved, though he par­tic­i­pated in a bud­get ver­sion that had more ag­gres­sive cuts.

While prom­ises for long-term bud­get cuts are all well and good, Woodall said the bud­get that is passed each year is al­ways a 10-year bill, so year one is the only year that can’t be changed af­ter a bud­get is ap­proved. He said the house’s ver­sion makes tough de­ci­sions about the most im­por­tant items like Medi­care and Med­i­caid.

As for Woodall’s most pas­sion­ate topic, the Fair Tax, he said the bill he rein­tro­duced this year has more sup­port than ever, garner­ing back­ing from 61 house mem­bers and six sen­a­tors. The bill has never pre­vi­ously reached the floor for a vote, but Woodall said with all the dis­cus­sion on the sub­ject, this could be the year for a vote.

Ac­cord­ing to Woodall’s web­site, “the Fair Tax would re­peal all Fed­eral cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual in­come taxes, pay­roll taxes, self-em­ploy­ment taxes, cap­i­tal gains taxes, the death tax and gift taxes — and re­place them with a rev­enue-neu­tral per­sonal con­sump­tion tax.”

He said if the bill is go­ing to ever be signed into law it’s go­ing to need a pres­i­dent will­ing to make over­haul­ing tax re­form a cru­cial is­sue. Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates Repub­li­can Mike Huck­abee and Demo­crat Mike Gravel sup­ported the Fair Tax in the pre­vi­ous elec­tion.

“I’d like to have a vote on it even if it loses. So many peo­ple like to hide in pol­i­tics, pay some­thing great lip ser­vice. I want to see a vote on it so we’ll know who the pre­tenders are and who the se­ri­ous folks are who are will­ing to speak out,” Woodall said. “If you want a jobs pro­posal, the Fair Tax is the big­gest job pro­posal we have on Capi­tol Hill.”


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