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Congressman Tom Graves spoke to Dade County Chamber of Commerce's board members last Tuesday at the Chamber office. Pictured are, front row, from left, Ginnie Sams (Arts Council), William Back (Board of Directors), Audrey Clark (Chamber Secretary/Treasurer, Trenton Telephone), Holly Moore (Board of Directors, IWG) and Seth Houts (Chamber President-Elect, Bank of Dade, Red Ace Petro). Back row, from left, Cherie Swader (Dade County Schools Superintendent), Peter Cervelli (Board of Directors, IDA), James Cantrell (Board of Directors, Dade High School), P.J., Nardy (Board of Directors, SLTC), Tom Graves (U.S. Congressman, District 14), Ricky Paris (IWG), Lionel Austin (Trenton Telephone), Chris Musser (Chamber Director) and George Nelson (SLTC).
 
U.S. Congressman Tom Graves came to Dade County on Tuesday, Aug. 26. One of the meetings Congressman Graves held was with the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He informed those present as to the current happenings in D.C., fielded questions, and asked how he can be of assistance to the Dade County community as a whole.

He began by explaining the work he has done to reduce federal sales tax on gas, and to bring the power to affect transportation change down to the state and local levels. He also spoke of his involvement with immigration reform, giving a nuanced perspective of the deportation question. He emphasized that often, minors were brought to the U.S. from other countries, after having been given entirely unrealistic promises. In his view, deporting the minors and reuniting them with their families is the most humane thing to do.

He also spoke of the Middle Eastern crises, addressing the wide-ranging issues of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the alleged killing of innocent Palestinians by Israeli missiles. According to Graves, during his recent visit to Israel, he was informed that the Palestinian terrorists have been deceitfully bringing women and children to the locations which the Israelis have warned them will be targeted by their missiles. He considers this absolutely deplorable. 

Questions were then asked about several issues, including his stance on the Export Import Bank discussions. According to him, this program was originally intended to expire last year, but as with many federal programs, an intended expiration date often ends up being ignored, leading to continued expenses. He even quoted former president Ronald Reagan saying, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” His desire is to phase out this program, as was originally intended.

Graves was also asked about his views on the educational questions of the day. He spoke very highly of public schools (he sends all three of his children to public school) and emphasized that he wants the power to be placed in the hands of the individuals who spend their lives educating our children, rather than allowing the federal government to come in and tell individual systems what is best for their communities.

Graves was also asked about the suits against the President, the Affordable Care Act, the increase in small business taxation, the media’s spin on certain current issues, and finally, on what will have to happen for things to change.

After addressing these questions, the 14th District Congressman noted that it was a pleasure for him to have met the Chamber’s board of directors, and is here to serve Dade County in whatever way he is able.

Chris Musser is the executive director of Dade County Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at (706) 657-4488.



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