Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 29, 2013

Hot-button issues key for Massie

Mike James
The Independent

ASHLAND — Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie discussed gun control, immigration, the federal budget and other hot-button issues in a town-hall style meeting Thursday at Ashland Community and Technical College.

Massie took questions for an hour before adjourning to talk one on one with attendees.

The question and answer session kicked off with a gun control query, specifically on proposals for requiring universal background checks for gun purchases.

Massie said requiring such checks would close only one of many loopholes that could result in guns reaching the wrong hands, that the only way to close all loopholes would be universal registration, which he opposes.

He called universal registration a precursor to banning guns. “I don’t think the government should have a list of serial numbers and social security numbers,” he said.

He received a couple of questions on immigration reform and said prerequisites for reform include secure borders, removal of welfare incentives and “no reward for breaking the law ... What we have now is complete amnesty.”

However, Massie suggested mass deportations are impossible. “You can’t put 12 million people on a train or in trucks and get them out of the country,” he said.

Answering a later question, he said he favors providing permanent residency to highly skilled workers because otherwise the industries that need them will leave the United States.

He said he favors balancing the federal budget and cutting spending. A largely friendly crowd appeared to mirror those positions; just before launching the Q&A he got an overwhelming show of hands when he asked whether the budget should be balanced but not one when he asked who favored more spending.

He said he would make an exception and vote for bills that preserve spending for the armed forces and veterans.

Massie said that as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform he would like to see hearings on large purchases of ammunition for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Agriculture.

He said failing to raise the debt ceiling will not cause the nation to default on its financial obligations and called claims to the contrary scare tactics.

Massie, formerly judge-executive of Lewis County, entered Congress to complete the unfinished term of Geoff Davis and was reelected for the current term.

His background is in engineering; he earned degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and launched his own hardware and software technology firm.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.