Rep. Doolittle holds Truckee town meeting
Congressman John Doolittle made his first stop in Truckee Tuesday in a series of town hall meetings the incumbent is holding to shore up support among his constituents after his tightest re-election win last fall.
About 30 members of the public attended the meeting in which Doolittle responded to submitted questions read by Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens, and had the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. Key issues raised included illegal immigration, health care, education, Iraq and the Middle East, global warming, taxes and local infrastructure.
Doolittle, first elected to Congress in 1990, said he supported efforts to stop further illegal immigration, not only with border security, but also in employer-enforcement and with a guest-worker program.
“I think something more is going to happen with this in Congress,” Doolittle said. “I think this is an area you will start to see a significant improvement on.”
He said he was involved in efforts to close the fence along the California-Mexico border, which met resistance from supporters of the Endangered Species Act, who objected to a location where the fence would go through an endangered bird’s habitat.
“The bird is just going to have to suffer because that fence is going to be closed,” Doolittle said.
“I support the local control of schools,” Doolittle said. “I don’t think the federal government ought to be mandating how you do this.”
In considering local challenges in education, namely language barriers, Doolittle said programs that aid those learning English as a second language shouldn’t be pursued to the detriment of more advanced students.
“I lived in Argentina for a couple of years, and if you were an English speaker in their schools they didn’t have Spanish-as-a-second-language courses,” Doolittle said.
“I am very much opposed to Kyoto,” Doolittle said. “I do not believe in the hysteria surrounding global warming, but I do believe we should be energy independent, and because of that I am supporting alternative fuels.”
Doolittle said Lake Tahoe is a test area for hydrogen fuel cells, and said he is working with Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz on a facility to burn slash removed from the forest as both a source of energy and as a forest-health project.
He said he doesn’t support ethanol fuels because they could potentially compete with food, but is supporting more nuclear power.
“I don’t want to be dependent on hostile nations for petroleum,” he said.
When an audience member asked Doolittle to drive down the right lane of Interstate 80 on his way to Sacramento to experience road conditions, Doolittle said infrastructure is one of his priorities for the district.
“As your representative, infrastructure has been my specialty,” Doolittle said.
He said he thought that particular stretch of I-80 was scheduled for replacement next year.
He also mentioned the Mousehole on Highway 89 south.
“I took the Mousehole from the middle of the list to the top of the list,” Doolittle said.
Members of the audience also raised concerns over the Middle East.
Doolittle said he supports the current administration’s policy, and doesn’t believe U.S. military forces should leave as quickly as congressional Democrats would like.
“There would be no way to restore the status quo if we just pulled out,” Doolittle said. “What we are going to have if we are not careful is a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”
He said he believes that other countries in the region should take the lead in Iraq, but sees the United States having a continuing role for the foreseeable future.
Doolittle said he blames the fall of the Shah of Iran for radical Islam.
“It’s given tremendous hope to extremists throughout the world,” Doolittle said. “The world is just different sadly, and we are loosing some of our freedom because of it.”