Economy not yet recovered, congressman says
COPPERAS COVE — During a tour of Central Texas this week that includes stops in Killeen, Gatesville and Copperas Cove, U.S. Rep, Roger Williams, R-Austin, said the American economy has not yet recovered.
“Today, there are 47 million people on food stamps, 15 percent of people in poverty, another 15 percent underemployed and 52 percent of college graduates that will be un- or underemployed for the next four years,” Williams told about 20 people Thursday during a Rotary Club meeting. “That’s not an economy.”
Williams, a small-business owner, discussed a number of issues, including his main points of the economy and military matters.
Empowering small-business owners by reforming taxes was his suggestion to turn around the national economy. In 2015, Williams started a program called “Jump Start America” to find solutions to put people back to work. Three weeks ago, Williams shared his ideas with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and recently Trump announced his own economic plan to reform taxes and also used the phrase “jump start America.”
Williams said he took the comparison to his program as a compliment.
Williams also spoke about military issues.
“Our military has been devastated in the last eight years, and the numbers show that,” Williams said. “We’ve gone from 1.2 million-man Army to 400,000 Army. We have the world’s greatest pilots that used to fly every day and now they fly every week, and the Navy is going to 1917 levels by the end of this year,” he said.
In 2015, Williams was appointed to a committee to research how to stop funding terrorism out of America, and that opened his eyes, he said.
“Last year, $500 million went from here to Benin, a small country in Africa, from the sale of knock-off products, like purses, shoes, to help fund terrorism,” Williams said. Another example was $1 billion from the sale of used cars from auctions.
“You see those guys firing machine guns from trucks that say Chevy or Dodge, and they were bought here at the auto auctions. We’ve got to stop that,” he said.
A member of the audience asked when will U.S. Highway 190 become an interstate.
“Five to seven years,” Williams said.
Another question was, “What is Congress doing about the military suicide rate?”
“A lot of people don’t realize there is help, and we have to do a better job at communicating that, so they know that they are not alone.” he said.
Claudia Brown, a member of the audience, said she was encouraged by what Williams said.
“I think he has good ideas about the economy and also returning to values of educating the youth about our government; that will make them more informed voters,” Brown said.
Councilman Matt Russell thanked Williams for bringing to light many important issues.
“It gave us a sense, with people like him fighting for us, there’s hope for the future to move forward in the country,” Russell said.
Today, Williams is scheduled to meet with the Killeen Heights Rotary Club at 7 a.m. and will meet with residents at the Gatesville Civic Center at 2 p.m.