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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Mon. 08/28/06 06:00:40 PM
Diana Irey Speaks
[Diana Irey is the Republican challenger to Rep. John Murtha for the 12th Congressional district in Pennsylvania. As a follow-up to Meet Diana Irey, I talked with her again, Tuesday, August 22. It was more of a conversation than an interview, strictly speaking, so I have left myself out of the transcript here, except to add some general headers and a few bracketed comments to provide some context.]
We have two headquarters: this one in Monongahela and one in Johnstown.
Weíre close to a thousand volunteers. Weíre at all the fairs. Weíve been door-knocking every weekend. And weíre hitting a lot of festivals. We were at the Italian Festival in Vandergrift on Sunday [Aug. 20]. And then we went to the Thunder Mountain Native American Festival & Pow Wow [in Saltzburg].
The door-knocking is going great. Every time we go, we get more volunteers. Theyíre excited about it and want to get involved in the campaign. Weíre in parades, too. Weíve done a lot of parades. And weíre doing a lot of radio and TV. We were in Ohio today [Tue. Aug. 22].
Weíve gotten contributions from all 50 states. And we get contributions from troops on the ground in Iraq. And some of their letters are incredible.
And one thing else. I went to Walter Reed and visited with some soldiers there. It was a wonderful experience. I sat down individually with Ė I donít know Ė maybe 25 soldiers when I was there. And I asked each one of them, Are you glad you went? Do you wish you hadnít gone? Every one of them was glad they went. The ones who could go back were anxious to go back.
A couple really touched my heart. There was a soldier that had lost both his legs. I was talking to him and thanking him for his service. He said, ďI was just doing my job, Maíam.Ē I asked him what he was going to be doing with the rest of his life. ďBecome a school teacher.Ē He said, ďI can be a teacher. This isnít going to limit me at all. I can still do what I want to do with my life.Ē There was a fellow that had a hole blown right through his stomach. Heís had 25 procedures. And he was one of the most upbeat men you can imagine.
And the stories go on and on, about how encouraging the troops were to me in my effort. One of them Ė he was a speaking to a number of soldiers around him, when I was thanking him Ė ďMaíam, you donít need to thank us. You just go beat him for us.Ē That is a motivation that will be on my mind 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until I defeat Mr. Murtha on election day.
Should the tax cuts be made permanent? Yes. Why? We have a lot of government waste. I see it from the countyís perspective. Monies that are handed down from the federal and state governments to the county. So I know how much waste there is. So I know we can cut back on spending.
Along those same lines, I think the federal government should be required to produce a balanced budget every year. I would support a balanced budget amendment. The people we represent have to live within their means. Government should, too.
I am very much pro-life. At this point, nobody has been able to convince me of how exceptions make sense. Exceptions always mean youíre choosing one life over another, and I donít know thatís our choice to make.
Roe v. Wade Ė I think thatís a situation where you have judges legislating from the bench. And I donít think that should have happened.
But I think weíre talking about Ė itís not just abortion, itís a life issue. With the Terri Schiavo situation Ė I thought it was a terrible blow to the sanctity of life, that she was denied food, sustenance. It wasnít a medical procedure, it was basically food. You know, weíre feeding people, weíre feeding the hungry, and we couldnít feed her. So I think it goes far beyond abortion. That we have to make sure that we place a value on life.
And, you know, that takes you right into embryonic stem-cell research. That makes no sense. Even if you Ė first of all, scientifically itís never been shown to be any more beneficial, or even as beneficial, as adult stem-cell research. It hasnít been shown to be as beneficial. Number 2 Ė say it was. Would you be harvesting embryos? At what point do you stop? I mean, it just takes you down a path that I donít think society has thought through what this would mean in the long term.
[The Supreme Court has taken onto itself a role where itís deciding policy.] Itís a very scary thought. What it really does is, it blurs the division of power. And our government was created to have that division for a reason. I think Congress is just going to have to make things a little more clear, as to what the role they are intended to have. I think thatís the best we can hope for now.
I think Roberts and Alito were good choices. I am pleased with both of those choices.
Eminent domain Ė I am outraged at how this has happened. I mean, this is a basic right, to own property. Itís your property, and for anyone sitting on a bench to think that they can change the whole design of our constitution by giving government the ability to take personal property away from someone Ė itís just ridiculous.
Weíve dealt with this issue in Washington County as well. We have had a number of discussions. In the town of Canonsburg, the council had passed a resolution to take by eminent domain properties that were owned by one gentleman. They wanted these structures torn down, and they were going to turn around and hand the properties over to a developer to build townhouses because they could generate additional tax revenue. We stopped it at the county level. It had to pass before the county, and we said no. We really need to be careful about this. This is a very slippery slope, deciding a distinction between whatís necessary and whatís not. So thatís an issue I take great exception to Ė supporting the government to take your property. That makes no sense at all.
The UN, Israel, and the War on Terror
Iím very upset with the UN. The UN is not our friend. We fund the UN Ė you know Ė our funding is a large portion of the monies they receive for their budget. Itís like 23%, I believe, the last time I saw.
And Iím not happy with the ceasefire that theyíve inflicted. Thatís something I wouldnít have supported. I think Israel has a right to defend themselves and they should be allowed to defend themselves.
We are fighting a war on terror and the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror. Some people try to separate the two, but you canít. What youíre looking at are terrorists that are bent on destroying our way of life, our culture. For the same thought Ė the same reason Ė theyíre bent on destroying Israel. Some of these terrorists groups refer to Israel as the Little Satan and the US as the Great Satan. It think itís very clear we are battling people that want to see us destroyed. You know, itís just like if you have a bully: if a bully is picking on you and beating on you, what are you supposed to do? Just let him beat on you? No! You fight backÖ you fight back. And thatís what America has to do, and thatís what Israel has to do.
[One of her staffers, Rob Roth, is in the Marine Reserves and served in Iraq.] What I really enjoy is Rob sharing some of his experiences in Iraq. You know what I learned specifically from Rob? I learned what great lengths our forces take in making sure they donít overreact to a situation. Rob explained to me the escalation of force, the terms of engagement. For example, if a car was approaching and didnít stop coming at you, theyíd have to yell ďStop!Ē in Arabic first. Then, if it didnít stop, theyíd fire two rounds into the ground. If it still didnít stop, theyíd fire two or three rounds into the hood. If it still didnít stop, then they could use the escalation of force towards the driver. I wonder how many of our men and women have died as a result of their caution to avoid taking of innocent civilians. And I donít think America really realizes that Ė how careful they are Ė how many precautionary steps they take before the go after suspected terrorists.
Letís secure the borders. Letís build a very tall fence or wall Ė with a very wide gate. We need to expand our immigration program. We need to revamp it to make it more user friendly so people can become US citizens more quickly. Right now, itís a very difficult process. Thereís a gentleman who was talking to me about the process Ė it took him six years to go through the process. And thatís a long time. So, if maybe we made the program Ė the path to citizenship Ė a little easier, then maybe more people that are coming over are going to want to do it the right way.
But we need to make sure that we never waiver from having the mandatory learning of our language, the English language. I think thatís very important.
I donít agree with amnesty. I think itís not a solution to the illegal immigration problem. Itís illegal Ė what donít people understand? Itís that simple.
I think the sharing of information is critical. I think Homeland Security probably had a great deal to do with the plot that was foiled in London.
[About the New York Timesí revelation of secret government programs, and the recent court decision ruling certain NSA activity unconstitutional.] I think that decision will be overturned. Iím not surprised because that judge was a Jimmy Carter appointment. Do I think the ruling was wrong? Yes, I think the ruling was wrong.
And I think that what the New York Times did was shameful. It was detrimental to our nationís security. And I still canít understand in any way how they could have thought that was okay.
I donít feel that most Americans feel safe right now. I think most of them believe we will be attacked again. We have to try to have confidence that our government is doing all that it can to prevent that.
House Ethics Scandals
[About recent convictions, charges, and resignations involving members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.] This is one of the saddest states of affairs that you can imagine. Thatís because the trust is broken. Relationships are about trust. And when someone participates in this kind of activity Ė when they are sent, when they are elected by the people Ė people put their trust in them, and they violate the trust.
Thatís why itís very sad. I think thatís a reason why we need term limits. For the House and the Senate. I think we need term limits. Iím not there yet, but Iím thinking 12 years is plenty of time to serve. I think once they get there Ė well, people keep e-mailing me, when you get there, please donít be seduced by Washington. And I think itís a couple things. Theyíre away from home, away from their family, and they think nobodyís looking Ė I can get away with this. And when theyíre down there so much, they tend to lose touch with reality, lose touch with the people back home and what real life is all about. What goes on in Washington is quite different than what goes on, you know, back in their homes. I just think the time they spend there should be limited. The people you spend the majority of your time with are the people you build relationships with.
[Does she think she'll hold up well in Washington?] I think Iím going to hold up well. My faith Ė my faith is what guides me, my faith is what motivates me to do what I do. I intend on continuing on my faith journey. Iím a Christian. I follow Christ. And thatís the most important relationship in my life, my relationship with Christ. Thatís part of why Iím running. For me, this is a calling, something placed on my heart. I intend on being in Washington to do the job I need to do and, you know, as soon as thatís done, I plan on getting right home to my family, my husband and my three wonderful children.
[P.S. The second image above is clickable to a larger version.]
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|Needless Commentary from Small-Town America|
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