A Call to Congressional Candidates!
by Gail Riecken, CCO State House Editor
Michael Leppert in his StatehouseFile article on Sixth District US Congress candidate Greg Pence slams Mr. Pence for not being up for his race. Among the issues Leppert cites is Pence’s total reliance on the name of his famous brother.
Name recognition is a big asset, but really, shouldn’t it be for something more than your family.
At the same time, I read Leppert’s article, I also read an article how President Trump is promising Michiganders he’ll prioritize needed waterway improvements on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
So, I say, if any Congressional or State legislative candidate, for that matter, wants to do something really big, something that gains him/her “kitchen table” name recognition, that person should advocate with the President and, yes, the Vice-President, that southern Indiana and the Ohio River locks and dams need just as much attention as the St Lawrence Seaway.
For years the Corps of Engineers has been trying to get more money for the dams on the Ohio River. (One construction project, that some feel was poorly designed, has sucked up all the monies and seems to stall the argument for improvements on other locks and dams.) What has remained is a policy of basic maintenance, only, for the other dams.
To quote the Corps of Engineers, “ Within five years, over half of the current navigation structures will be past their structural design life.” The Corps considers “the modernization of the Ohio River system a top local, regional, national priority”.
As a matter of fact, I don’t see how one can prioritize the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence Seaway over the Ohio River. The Ohio River carries over 220 million tons of freight (year 2010). Both the Seaway and Ohio are integral parts of the economic health of our country.
How could candidates do something worthwhile to earn name recognition? Pledge support and advocacy for improvements along with one or more of the compacts of the 6 states bordering the Ohio River; visit the Corps and solicit their help and advocacy; travel to the state legislator and national legislator conferences and lobby targeted Electeds,(Canada used to be active for the St Lawrence Seaway at these conferences and probably still is); and visit Governor Holcomb and secure his active support.
Backing a candidate for office should be more about the actions that a candidate takes to benefit our area and less about who his/her brother or father is or the fact the candidate looks good in public. Those attributes haven’t won us a seat at the allocation table for what we need on Ohio. How about asking a candidate to take a stand and tell us what he/she will do for southern Indiana and the Ohio River.