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Congressman speaks out on I-69, Iraq

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I-69 will be good for Indiana, according to Congressman John Hostettler. The congressman stopped by The Times office Tuesday to talk about issues facing Hoosiers today.

"I-69 will benefit Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, which will be the last active military base in Indiana, once Newport Army Chemical Depot has had the VX gas neutralized and the base closed," Hostettler said. "We are getting ready for another round of base realignment and closure, and one item being considered is the ability to mobilize. I-69 will help Crane get items needed for war on the road to its destination. We can't lose this base.

"There are many counties that rely on Crane, and, should it be lost to base realignment, those counties would suffer."

Hostettler said that a vast majority of the 8th District was not behind the I-69 project because they did not feel the interstate would become a reality in their time. It is going to be built and Hostettler said he will ensure the proper funds will be there for Indiana during the construction phase.

He realizes that the project will be detrimental to some homes, farms and businesses, however that can't be avoided.

The re-elected congressman also spoke about Iraq.

Hostettler thinks Warheads found in Iraq reaffirm the lack of trust Americans can place in Saddam Hussein. It was disconcerting to Hostettler that the warheads were found after the thousands of pages of declarations by the Iraqi government.

"Saddam is a survivor. He will do anything to put off an attack and change the tide of the world's public opinion against war between the U.S. and Iraq," Hostettler said.

Much information about the U. N. Inspectors' findings in Iraq was presented during classified and unclassified meetings to Hostettler and other members of Congress.

Another concern for Hostettler is jobs.

"I will work closely with the Chamber of Commerce offices in Indiana to look at why Indiana is not as appealing as other states," Hostettler said.

Indiana needs jobs, and while Indiana is losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands each year, other states are gaining jobs.

Hostettler also announced that work is progressing on his Terre Haute office. In the very near future, the Terre Haute office will be fully operational, including a staff and a toll-free number for Hoosiers to contact Hostettler. The Terre Haute office will be supervised by Troy Woodruff.

The congressman's office in Terre Haute will be similar to offices in Vincennes and Evansville.

Yet another office is scheduled for the northern part of the 8th District, however Hostettler said it is still in the planning stages.

The new offices were necessitated by redistricting. Indiana lost a Congressional seat, causing all district boundaries to be redrawn.

Hostettler plans to make scheduled stops at the offices to meet with his constituents. He will also have town hall-type meetings in each county of the 8th District at least twice a year. The meetings will be open to residents, and if a person is unable to make a meeting in their home county, they can attend meetings in other counties.

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