PENFIELD TWP. — U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, believes the changes taking place in North Korea could resemble the fall of the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago.
Gibbs addressed several issues while speaking at the Lorain Medina Rural Electric’s Co-op Owners for Political Action breakfast at Penfield Township Hall on Tuesday morning.
“There has been tough talk with Kim Jong Un in North Korea,” Gibbs said. “Suddenly, we’re seeing unbelievable results. The jury is still out on how it will play out, but it would be analogous to when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed. When it started, it happened fast.”
Gibbs said the sanctions against North Korea have been tough, and Kim Jong Un may fear being ousted like other dictators in the recent past like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.
“We sent two aircraft carriers over there to show that we mean business,” Gibbs said. “When the United States is stronger, the world is a safer and a more peaceful place, and I’m convinced of that.”
Gibbs touched on other topics, such as bringing broadband internet access to rural areas, environmental regulations and work requirements for getting government benefits.
“There is a huge movement to get broadband across America,” Gibbs said. “I like to say we’re like we were in the 1950s when President (Dwight) Eisenhower did the leadership to create the interstate highway system. Can you imagine where we would be today if we didn’t do that? Well, I think that’s where we’re at with broadband across America.”
The congressman said he believes having nationwide access to broadband internet will revolutionize the economy, cut down on traffic congestions and will put people in rural areas on an even playing field with those who live in metropolitan areas.
Gibbs also discussed possible changes President Donald Trump and Congress are looking into concerning Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
“The president has talked a lot about streamlining,” Gibbs said. “We need to put money into our infrastructure, but we also need to look at the cost side. It shouldn’t take 15 years to get studies done before a project can begin. That’s where we’ve been. I really don’t know what the bureaucrats are doing during all that time. I just don’t know how you can stretch things out that long, but they seem pretty good at that.”
The EPA shouldn’t be able to revoke project permits for entities due to a political agenda, Gibbs said.
“We have seen that after a permit was given, years later the EPA came in and revoked the permit, not because the entity was in violation of the permit, but for a political agenda,” he said. “That stifles growth, because who is going to take the risk?”
Congress also is expected to look at added work requirements to programs like food stamps and other benefits, according to Gibbs.
The work requirement would mean anyone from age 18 to 59 that is able-bodied would have to work 20 hours a week, be going to school, in an apprenticeship or a training program in order to get benefits.
“This is to help people help themselves,” Gibbs said. “If you have a dependent, 6 years of age or younger, you don’t have to meet those requirements. If you decide not to do that, the kids will not lose their food stamps, just the adult.
“I think it’s disingenuous for people who work 40, 50, 60 or 70 hours a week funding these programs to have somebody that is able-bodied that can work or go to school getting assistance.”
Gibbs is seeking re-election to the 7th Congressional seat. He faces two Republican challengers, W. Benjamin Franklin and Steve W. Kraus, in the Republican primary Tuesday. The winner will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Ken Harbaugh and Patrick M. Pikus.
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