Congressman Davis speaks at meeting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2004

When U.S. Rep. Artur Davis talks, people listen.

Listeners filled

Selma City Council Chambers Tuesday night as they heard from Davis at his annual town hall meeting. Davis spoke briefly about why he held town hall meetings, but mainly he entertained questions from the audience.

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If questions posed to Davis were any indication, the people have U.S. Highway 80, Iraq and high gas prices.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw asked Davis to explain the $14 million appropriation for Highway 80, which Davis responded to by discussing economic development. &uot;When we talk about economic development, the question is, how do people get supplies in here?&uot; Davis asked. &uot;A big part of it is infrastructure.&uot;

Davis said that by appropriating all federal highway funds to Highway 80 instead of handing it out piecemeal helped the most people. &uot;If we can get Highway 80 expanded, it’ll take away the biggest excuses people have had to not bring industry to this area,&uot; Davis said. &uot;We’ve still got a ways to go, but it’s a good start.&uot;

Davis also spoke about gay marriage on Tuesday. Davis said he held no prejudices against anyone, but noted that society has defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. &uot;I don’t see any reason to change that,&uot; Davis added. &uot;I would be inclined to vote for a federal amendment at this point.&uot;

Concerning the situation in Iraq, Davis said that the number of American deaths was approaching 700. &uot;In the first Gulf War, we lost 112,&uot; he added.

According to Davis, the U.S. will transfer power to an Iraqi government on June 30. &uot;As a member of Congress, I have no idea what that means,&uot; Davis said. He added that people didn’t know if American troops would remain in Iraq after the transition of power or if they would return home. &uot;We need to know what we’re doing in Iraq,&uot; Davis said. &uot;I’m for whatever is going to mean fewer Americans are killed.&uot;

Members of Congress may hold different opinions about Iraq, but all honored America’s soldiers, Davis said. He added that soldiers should receive access to education and healthcare upon their return.

Responding to a question about rising gas prices, Davis said Congress needed to hold hearings. &uot;For whatever reason, prices are going up,&uot; Davis said. &uot;I can’t understand that. We need to have hearings.&uot;

Davis added that President George W. Bush should tap into the country’s strategic petroleum reserves.

Davis also addressed local issues on Tuesday. He said that his office had received several telephone calls recently about a prison slated for construction in Perry County. &uot;Good government is when affected people are brought into the process,&uot; Davis said. &uot;I want to be the kind of person that brings people together.&uot;

Before concluding the town hall meeting, Davis said that the community’s esteem should be raised. &uot;We sell our communities way too short,&uot; Davis said. &uot;People that are true leaders should focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t do. God didn’t make any kind of human trash.&uot;