Linder visits Braselton to talk about issues
BY KERRI TESTEMENT
Taxes, soaring gas prices and the war in Iraq were the key issues awaiting answers when Congressman John Linder visited Braselton on Saturday.
An estimated 70 people including those protesting the war in Iraq heard Linder speak at the Braselton Police and Municipal Court Building.
Some of the signs protesters displayed along Ga. Hwy. 53 in front of the building said, “Stop Sending Our Grandchildren to Iraq” and “Rep. Linder. Gwinnett Citizens say Troops Home Now.”
One of the protestors questioned why Linder supported the war in Iraq when others at the nation’s capitol knew it was a “lie.” The woman also cited rising costs, lost lives and injured soldiers in the war.
“We know he did use weapons of mass destruction against his own people,” Linder said of intelligence provided to officials about former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
“Everybody believed the same thing,” he added.
On the energy issue, Linder (R-Ga.) said for the past six years, he has voted in favor of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.
Proponents of the move say the area has several billion barrels of oil available, which would help the United States become less dependent on foreign oil. However, drilling for oil in Alaska has remained an environmental issue.
“It’s a pure political battle,” Linder said.
He blamed Democrats and their previous efforts to filibuster the proposal as the reason for it lack of passage.
“When the market sets (prices) so high, the bubble will break and come down real fast,” Linder said of rising fuel costs. “But it’s just pure speculation right now.”
Linder is also a proponent of the Fair Tax, a proposal to eliminate all forms of income tax and replace it with a federal sales tax imbedded in all goods and services. Linder is one of the authors of a best-selling book about the Fair Tax.
When asked if he thought the Fair Tax would become a reality, Linder said: “When I die.”
Linder contends that as the federal tax codes gets more complicated, it encourages funds to be spent in “underground” markets. Linder said the Fair Tax would abolish the IRS and fix the nation’s tax system.
On the federal government’s rising spending, Linder said he gets plenty of requests from special interest groups including libraries and cancer support organizations for additional funds.
“Nobody comes to my office and says please stop spending money,” he said of the requests.
Linder has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992, and was in office when the Republican party presented its “Contract with America” in 1994.
“We’re hoping to come up with an agenda that the people believe in again,” he said.
Linder is running for another term in office for the seventh Congressional district. Doug Heckman, a Democrat from Norcross, is also seeking the seat.