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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Capitol report

  • One of the seven congressmen representing Louisiana in Washington, D.C., made a stop in Bastrop Tuesday.


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  •   One of the seven congressmen representing Louisiana in Washington, D.C., made a stop in Bastrop Tuesday.
      U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, a Republican serving the 5th District, spoke on politics and policy for about an hour to about 30 visitors at the Morehouse Country Club.
      While Alexander touched on a wide range of topics – from tax policy to redistricting – a consistent theme seemed to underscore many of his responses to questions: political divides.
      Alexander said that political animus is as heavy as he's ever experienced it in his decade in the Capitol and asked rhetorically, “How are we supposed to find middle ground when there are so many critics who don't want you to compromise? It should be like a marriage or a friendship, in that you work together.”
      Every time Congress meets, he illustrated, each member is handed one card stating the Democrats' official position on a proposal and a second card representing Republicans' view.
      “Well, what about the Americans' position?” he asked rhetorically.
      Alexander, from Quitman, said it's hard to argue with foreign nations' dislike for the United States when Americans themselves don't like one another.
      “We put metal detectors in schools to keep us from shooting one another,” he cited as an example.
      He noted that groups of lawyers from both political parties are assigned the job of doing whatever they can to switch existing congressmen to the opposite party, despite never personally visiting the particular state.
      “But that's the nature of the beast we call Washington,” he said.
      In response to a question, Alexander said he's been involved with “battling” FEMA for about two years over the department's “creative” policy adaptions regarding flood-zone insurance mandates. Alexander explained that after Hurricane Katrina, pressure has been placed on FEMA to address its $18-billion deficit.
      A couple of years ago Alexander formed a Levee Caucus in order to better educate a large portion of congress who know little about the importance of levee policy that affects 70 percent of the nation's population.
      Other pending and tenuous issues that are due to be decided in the next few months, such as health care and tax cuts and tax hikes, are subject to keeping future generations of Americans from enjoying a lot of the benefits Alexander said he and others have enjoyed.
      “There's a major train wreck about to happen and the track is getting shorter,” he said.
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