BUCKHANNON — Congressman Alex Mooney made a second stop in Buckhannon after meeting with Governor Jim Justice earlier in the day. Mooney was passing through the area on his way back home to Charlestown while on break from session this week. Congressman Mooney was elected to represent West Virginia in 2014 under the Presidency of Barack Obama, and since then, President Donald Trump.
Congressman Mooney made this appearance to speak openly with the group and discuss information on the impeachment hearings, at the request of the club members, and other issues that impact the state through his work in Congress. The Congressman took questions from those in attendance. The drug epidemic and the root of the drug issue was one of the first issues addressed from the crowd.
Congressman Mooney explained, “When it comes to the drug issue in general, I think it is an all-of-the-above approach: your local communities, your churches, your charities, local government, and families, because they are the first ones to see the problem. Local communities and government can set up the rehabs, but when you get to the point, it is no longer preventative by the time you have an addict and you’re talking about rehab. You’re no longer at the root of the problem, but treating the problem.”
Mooney furthered in discussion of the drug epidemic and the passing of bills for doctors and prescription drugs in recent years by stating, “If Congress could pass a bill tomorrow to solve the drug problem, we would do it. So would your County Commissioners, so would the state. It is something we are very aware of and trying to be helpful in any way we can.”
Another question from the crowd addressed the needle exchange programs statewide, and the reported successes or failures of those programs. In response, Congressman Mooney simply said, “I am not for needle exchange. I don’t think you should give out needles to people using needle drugs, it does not make any sense to me. There are different mentalities on how to handle the drug issue. Some want to put addicts on suboxone and other lighter drugs for long, long times, and that is really not getting them off of drugs. It is replacing one drug for another, that is maybe less harmful. Some believe that is the answer and those who believe in handing out clean needles might have some good effects. I am an abstinence person. We have to get them off drugs and keep them off drugs, and we have successful programs that do that.”
Congressman Mooney spoke candidly with the group. In ending his discussions to head home to Charlestown to be with his wife and children he stated, “I am humbled to do this. I walk up the stairs to go to the Capitol, vote, and I walk back down. It is not lost upon me that we have a free country and we have a republic with a democratic process. When I walk up to vote and walk down, if I ever lose the feeling that this is special and this is a wonderful thing, that is the day I should retire and be done with this job. Every day I go in there, it is not lost upon me that I have the opportunity to represent you and be your voice and defend our values. I will fight for what I think is right.”