Saturday, June 28, 2008

Editorial: "What is Happening in Hamilton?"

Something very bad is happening in Hamilton and the fear is that the disease may spread to the rest of the communities in Butler County if action isn't taken to contain the damage. Two stories from this week perfectly illustrate the nature of the illness that afflicts the city of Hamilton. The first deals with the suggestion that Hamilton adopt a "kilowatt hour" tax and the second recommends that Hamilton install red light cameras.

Butler County is doing pretty okay economically, which is a miracle considering the condition of our state's economy. Gas prices are high, but they aren't as high here as they are in neighboring counties. An energy crisis looms over the horizon and Republicans on city council want to impose a tax on energy consumption. Does that sound like a winner to you? An energy tax is absolutely the wrong move at this time and if Republicans do the deed, it will come back to bite them come election time. People remember it well when Republicans raise their taxes and their energy bills.

Red light cameras are not about safety. Study after study has shown that safety conditions do not improve due to the presence or absence of these cameras. Like the energy tax, installing these cameras is about raising revenue to feed a particularly nasty habit: a bloated budget. There is no safety concern at play here. There was a story out of Springfield, OH where one of these cameras cited a driver for making a legal right turn on red. Bottom line: It is not the city's responsibility to enforce traffic laws, but rather the police departments. That the city would consider deputizing cameras for this job is a joke; that the real reason they are even considering such a move is purely financial is a travesty.

The city of Hamilton ought to look at making spending cuts and reducing the tax burden in order to encourage commerce. That is a proven method of increasing revenue and a much better alternative to the various schemes and scams that city council is currently considering.

Boehner Column: "Energy Independence"

In a few days, we will mark the founding of our great nation, Independence Day. We’ll cheer our historic victory over the British monarch. We’ll celebrate the ingenuity and enterprising spirit that transformed us from 13 colonies to a world superpower of 50 states. And yet with all of our accomplishments, we are still incapable of meeting our own energy needs.

This is insane. Americans are demanding action, but all you hear from the leaders in the Democratic Congress are excuses for why they refuse to schedule votes to put us on the road to energy independence. And the votes that are scheduled are on bills that would actually raise gas prices.

Democratic leaders brought to the floor of the U.S. House a “patch” for the Alternative Minimum Tax that would raise taxes on America ’s domestic energy industry by $13.5 billion. As any small business owner can tell you, when the cost of doing business goes up – and taxes are one of those costs – prices must go up, meaning that consumers will pay more. We’re already paying more than $4 a gallon for gas; how much higher does that have to go before we do something about it?

I recently hosted a telephone townhall with about 300 constituents from the 8th Congressional District and the number one topic by far was gas prices. One thing we discussed was the fact that we import $600 billion worth of oil annually. Think of the dramatic impact $600 billion would have if, instead of sending that money overseas to buy oil, we kept it here at home to create American jobs and create American energy. But instead of offering real solutions, the Democratic Congress is offering sham legislation.

The House recently passed a bill to lower fares for mass transit as part of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called a “key component of a clean and green American energy future.” But that bill will force taxpayers to subsidize public transportation costs in big cities while doing absolutely nothing for people living in rural and suburban areas who don’t have access to public transportation.

Speaker Pelosi wanted to pass a “Use It or Lose It” bill to force oil and natural gas companies to produce energy from the lands they lease from the federal government. But federal energy lease holders already must produce oil or natural gas within five to 10 years to remain in compliance with their lease terms and with the law. This law was passed in 1992, and Speaker Pelosi voted for it then.

Democratic leaders refuse to let the House vote on a bill that would let oil companies build new refineries on closed military bases. We haven’t built a refinery in this country in 30 years, and while the existing ones have expanded somewhat, we need to build more to meet our ever-increasing demand. House Republicans have tried to introduce legislation to streamline the approval process for new refineries down to about seven years, compared with the current 10 to 20 years but those beholden to the radical environmental lobby continue to block it.

Democratic leaders also refuse to let the House vote on increasing domestic oil and natural gas drilling. We need to drill for oil on the Arctic coastal plain. The total area we’re looking at is the size of South Carolina ; the area in which the drilling would take place is akin to putting a postage stamp on a football field. Another area where we need to drill is in deep-ocean energy zones far off the U.S. coast, where it’s estimated we could find 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The main reason we’re in this mess is because of misguided federal rules that prevent us from tapping into our own resources based on the mistaken notion that exploration in these remote areas cannot be done in a manner that does not harm our environment.

If I believed we had other sources of energy to turn to right now, I might agree with leaving our natural resources under lock and key. But we don’t, and so it’s all the more critical that we start the process of creating more American energy. It’s going to take at least 20 years before alternative sources like wind, water and solar help meet a significant part of our energy demand. In the meantime, we have no other choice but to go after our own resources if we want to lower gas prices.

As you may know, a nickname for the Republican Party is G.O.P., which stands for “Grand Old Party.” A Democratic colleague recently referred to us as the “Gas and Oil Party.” Compared with the Democrats’ stubborn position of no new domestic energy, no drilling for oil and natural gas, and their continued worship at the altar of radical environmentalism, I’m proud to belong to the party that is actually trying to do something to lower gas and oil prices and help make us energy independent.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boehner Congratulates First Lakota West Student Named Presidential Scholar

Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) congratulated Lakota West High School senior Raymond Xi on being named a Presidential Scholar.

Raymond, who plans to attend Yale University in the fall where he will study mathematics and economics, is the first student in the Lakota School District to earn this honor.

“Raymond Xi is an outstanding student, and I congratulate him on earning national recognition as a Presidential Scholar,” Boehner said. “Lakota West High School is one of the best schools in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, and this award also honors the dedication of the school community to giving students a well-rounded education.”

Raymond’s many school activities include President of Mu Alpha Theta, the mathematics honor society; captain of the Academic Quiz team; Peer Counseling leader; and head of the Engineering Tech Society. He also plays piano, belongs to the National Honor Society and Junior Classical League and is a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. He is also a member of Lakota West’s Ultimate Frisbee Team.

The Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson to recognize the nation’s outstanding high school scholars. Today, the program honors the achievements of both scholar and artists and to date, has honored more than 5,000 American high school students. Each year, one male and one female student from each state, the District of Columbia are selected as well as 15 at-large students, a number of students living abroad and up to 20 students in the arts are selected based on their academic achievements, service, leadership and creativity through the U.S. Department of Education.

Raymond traveled to Washington, D.C., with his parents, Xiaobing and Hui Wang; his brother, James Yihua; and his grandmother, Duqing Chen.
This is a huge accomplishment and a great reflection on our community. Congrats, Raymond! ...and best of luck at Yale!

Boehner Congratulates 8th District Art Contest Winner Trun Vu

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today congratulated Lakota West High School sophomore Lyndsey Trun Vu for winning the 8th Congressional District Art Competition.

“Trun is an accomplished artist, and I’m proud that her art work will represent Ohio ’s 8th Congressional District to the thousands of visitors who visit the U.S. Capitol,” Boehner said. “I want to thank all the students who participated in this year’s art competition. This is a great opportunity to showcase the talents of our high school artists.”

Trun and her family – father, David; mother, Lehai; brothers, Tri and Minh Dao – visited Washington , D.C. , to attend a ceremony honoring all art competition winners from around the country. Trun joined with other district winners for a group photo on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, and all the students were honored at a reception.

Trun’s winning piece “Looking Up” was done with ink using her fingerprints. Her picture will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year along with other district winners from around the country. The second- and third-place winners along with two pieces that took honorable mention will hang in Boehner’s West Chester and Troy offices where they may be viewed by the public. Currently, all art work is displayed in the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton through Tuesday, May 20.

This year’s contest was judged by Cathy Mayhugh, Fitton Center for the Arts; Sue Samoviski, City of Sculpture ; Laine Snyder, Fairfield Community Arts Center ; and Karen Connolly, a local artist.

The other winners are:

2nd Place: Tatum Berry , senior at Lakota West High School for “Floating Chair. Medium: NuPastel.

3rd Place: Kelsie Garrett, senior at Butler Technology Center for “ Hollywood .” Medium: watercolor/black acrylic paint.

Honorable Mention: Maggie Hinkle, junior at Monroe High School for “The Bird & The Bee.” Medium: Photography.

Honorable Mention: Chris Crabtree, senior at Butler Tech’s Options Academy – The Arts for “The Old Butler County Courthouse.” Medium: Digital Photography.
Photos of all winners and art work submitted for the competition may be viewed in the Photo Gallery at

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Boehner Column: "New Technologies Deliver New Cleaner Energy"

Usually when you hear the word “nuclear” it means that Iran is in the news again. But I think that we need to view “nuclear” in another light, as in safely and cleanly delivering on our energy needs and helping us achieve our goal of energy independence.

While the price of gas has been slowly creeping upward in the years since President Clinton vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have opened up parts of a desolate plain in Alaska for oil exploration, the true consequences of President Clinton’s ill-advised decision have only recently become fully apparent. Families and small businesses this summer are being pummeled by skyrocketing gas prices that have put an unacceptable squeeze on their budgets.

In a recent e-mail to constituents, I asked people to tell me how they’re coping with gas prices. I did this because I want to be able to share these real-life stories with the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington whose policies are blocking our nation’s path to energy independence. The response to my request was staggering. I heard from grandparents who are limiting their visits to grandchildren. I heard from farmers in rural areas who cannot drive to the post office more than twice a week to get their mail and families who are cutting back on groceries.

Just as the United States has the capacity and the ingenuity to increase domestic production of oil in an environmentally-safe way to help lower gas prices, so too can we pursue technology to lower the cost of electricity. And we can do so using clean nuclear energy.

Believe it or not, France can serve as a great example for us here at home when it comes to nuclear power. Today, 440 nuclear reactors in 31 countries generate 16 percent of the world’s electricity – including 30 percent in the European Union – but France most assuredly leads the way.

Today, France derives 78 percent of its electricity from more than 50 reactors and “recycles” nuclear fuel for further use – a textbook example of “energy efficiency,” which we hear so much about these days in Washington.

In a sign that we may have finally been turning the corner on nuclear energy, last year Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told a House committee that “I have a different view on nuclear than I did 20 years ago” because of advances in technology and that she believes nuclear energy “has to be on the table.” Unfortunately, the Speaker’s actions speak far louder than her words. In spite of its clear advantages to American consumers, the Democratic Congress has refused to promote nuclear power.

For those of us here in Ohio , particularly near Fernald and the Miamisburg Mound Laboratory, the word “nuclear” may have a certain connotation. But, as other nations around the world have demonstrated, nuclear energy in the 21st Century is the safest, cleanest source of energy you can find. In fact, we’re proving it in this country as well. For more than a generation, nuclear technology has powered our Navy with incredible safety.

It’s time now for our leaders in Washington to step up to the plate. The American people deserve a Congress that is willing to make these difficult decisions. Let’s begin to free our nation from the shackles of energy dependence through the clean, safe, and efficient nuclear power.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Boehner Column: We Can Increase American Energy in an Environmentally Sound Way

For years I’ve been an advocate for increasing the production of American energy in an environmentally responsible way to liberate our nation from its dependence on foreign oil. And for years, such reforms have been blocked by Washington politics. This summer, we’re witnessing the bitter consequences of Washington ’s failure. Skyrocketing gas prices are hurting working families and destroying jobs right here in our region. It didn’t have to be this way. . .and it doesn’t have to stay this way.

General Motors announced recently it will close its Moraine plant in two years because the products made there are no longer in demand. Sales of pick-up trucks and midsize SUVs are down since gas prices keep going up. Just days after the GM announcement, DMAX Ltd., also located in Moraine, announced that it would lay off 290 hourly workers at its diesel-engine plant by mid-July. The DMAX plant builds engines for large trucks and vans, which are also not in demand as gas prices continue their upward climb. What began as a steady drain on family budgets has turned into a dire situation. We’re losing good jobs.

The situation is an outrage. It has been clear for decades that we must strengthen the development of alternative fuel sources and increase the production of American energy. It has also been clear for many years that these steps can be taken in an environmentally responsible way. Why hasn’t it happened? A lot of the blame goes to politicians who say one thing and then do another. Many have promised to increase our nation’s energy supply, but consistently voted against legislation to achieve it.

We have plenty of oil spread throughout Alaska , Montana , North Dakota , the Rocky Mountains and offshore, but extreme regulations prohibit us from going after it. How ridiculous are our current restrictions? As columnist George Will recently noted, China is drilling for oil off U.S. shores, but American oil producers can’t. Congress has repeatedly denied them permission to do so, even over the objections of the coastal states nearest to the potential drilling zones. Instead we’re importing more than 60 percent of our oil from other countries, including a number of nations hostile to America .

Meanwhile, our domestic resources remain locked away, including 86 billion barrels of American oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS); 10.4 billion barrels in a tiny, desolate portion of the remote Arctic coastal plain; and 2 trillion barrels of American oil shale in the Intermountain West.

I’m for increased domestic production, and I have been for years. But don’t take my word for it; look at my voting record. Ninety-one percent of current House Republicans (I’m one of them) have historically voted to increase environmentally-responsible production of American-made oil and natural gas. By contrast, 86 percent of House Democrats have consistently voted against it.

Here are just a few of the most recent examples:

Aug. 4, 2007: the House voted down an amendment to H.R. 3221 that would have included provisions for more oil and gas from Alaska , the OCS and oil shale; removed bureaucratic obstacles to allow construction of more refineries; and promoted more research and development into efficient energy sources. I voted for this amendment; Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) voted against it.

June 29, 2006: while I was serving as House Majority Leader, the Republican-led House passed H.R. 4761, a bill that would have provided incentives to coastal states to permit offshore oil and natural gas exploration under strict environmental protection. I voted for this bill; Speaker Pelosi voted against it.

June 7, 2006: the Republican-led House passed H.R. 5254, a bill that sought to lower gas prices by expediting the permitting process for expanding oil refineries. I voted for this bill; Speaker Pelosi voted against it.

May 26, 2006: the House passed H.R. 5429, a bill supporting environmentally-sound oil and gas exploration and production in the Alaskan coastal plain. I voted for this bill; Speaker Pelosi voted against it.

These are just some of the most recent examples of my votes. You can find more votes on my website,

I don’t believe $4 gas was the “new direction” Americans believed Congress would take under Speaker Pelosi, but unfortunately that’s where we are. And under Democratic leadership, not only is the U.S. House not doing anything to increase production of American energy, it’s actually trying to enact stricter regulations that further hamper our chances of achieving energy independence. Unless we take immediate steps to increase our own production in an environmentally sound way, we will remain dependent on foreign and oft-times hostile regimes.

Increasing production is just one of the steps we need to take. We also need to conserve more. We need biofuels. We need alternative fuels. We need to have a real serious conversation about the cleanest form of energy, nuclear power. But none of this will make a difference unless we’re willing to explore our own land here in America and increase domestic energy production in an environmentally safe way. We can do this.

House Republicans have announced we will force a steady stream of votes in Congress in an effort to get the energy reform process moving. We need your help to get Congress to take action. Washington is broken. Working together, we can begin to fix it. And we must.