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What would they ask the president?

After careful consideration, W.Va. lawmakers pose questions

After careful consideration, W.Va. lawmakers pose questions

July 04, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - When asked what they might ask or tell President Bush today if given the opportunity, many area lawmakers found themselves - at least initially - stumped.

"I better sit on my question," said Del. Walter Duke, R-Berkeley. "If I do (ask him), it might get me in trouble."

The president is scheduled to arrive by helicopter this morning in Berkeley County, W.Va. Bush will meet with members of the 167th Airlift Wing and their families at the West Virginia Air National Guard base south of Martinsburg.

The public is not invited to attend Bush's visit.

Del. John Overington, R-Berkeley, after a long pause, said he would ask Bush about the 2000 election.

"I think I'd be tempted to ask, 'Was West Virginia (to Bush) the critical state in 2000 in his election,'" said Overington, recounting how the controversy in Florida would have been "moot" if the Mountain State would have voted for his opponent, Al Gore.

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Del. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, initially said he was "dumbfounded" when asked to pose a question, but later added in a follow-up interview that he would tell Bush that he was excited that the president decided to return to West Virginia.

Sen. John Yoder, R-Jefferson, said he would like to know the perspective Bush has gained since being elected in 2000.

"After six years of service as president, what do you think the greatest challenge to our country is, apart from terrorism and what would you do to address that challenge?" Yoder said.

"I want to thank him for coming to visit West Virginia on the Fourth of July and hope he will keep West Virginia in mind for any positive steps he takes for the remainder of his term in office," Yoder said.

"It's an honor to have the president visit my senatorial district," Yoder said.

Overington echoed Yoder's sentiments.

"I hope that he continues to remember us," Overington said.

Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson, said he would talk to Bush about the No Child Left Behind legislation.

"Put more flexibility in 'No Child Left Behind'," Doyle said of the federal education initiative.

Doyle added that he would tell Bush to expand the mandates for the education program to include social areas of study, including citizenship and history.

Doyle said schools should not be so quickly designated as "failure to make adequate yearly progress" and establish a more "holistic set of standards" for the initiative.

Del. Jonathan Miller, R-Berkeley; Del. Locke Wysong, D-Jefferson; Del. Bob Tabb, D-Jefferson; and state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, did not immediately return messages Tuesday.

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