Congressman Cline to visit Bath for a Few events

There is a special event happening at Valley Elementary School on Wednesday when politicians and Tech moguls will meet.  Allegheny Mountain Radio talked to Congressman Ben Cline of Virginia 6th district to learn how he’ll spend his time in the county that day, but before asking him about rolling study halls with Internet access, I asked where he stands on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

“Well, I’m very concerned about making sure that our water and our property rights are protected as part of any pipeline through the district, and so as a delegate, I wrote to the Department of Environmental Quality to make sure that they maximize their authority under current code to investigate and confirm that any and all disturbances of land are going to be with the goal of keeping our water clean, and keeping our land rights intact.”

“And do you have any opinions on how well you feel like that process is working so far?”

“Well, I think that, I do have concerns that the DEQ has not acted to maximize the authority that it has under current law.  It could probably do more.  At the federal level there is less of a role for the EPA per se, but I’m hopeful that we would see some more action from DEQ in the near future.”

Following that topic, which we both felt sure will be addressed in more depth at the Town Hall meeting on Wednesday afternoon, we moved on to the first activity in Congressman Cline’s visit, the celebration of the Rolling Study Halls provided by Google to be introduced on county School buses in the next year.   Bath is one of sixteen counties across the country granted this opportunity, and he commented on why.

“Ten million students in rural communities don’t have access to reliable internet. Google rolling study halls are one way in which technology is stepping up to fill the gap.  Ad so, students in places like Bath across Virginia should have the opportunity to succeed, and we can start bridging the digital divid with efforts like this.

While the prospect of our area students having increased access to the Internet is an exciting one, I also wanted to know the congressman’s thoughts on more broadband for our workplaces and homes, that could make us a more economically vibrant region. 

“Well, we definitely want to encourage and make it profitable for technologies to expand into areas and provide that last mile of service, so whether it’s the phone companies, the cable companies, or even the satellite companies providing service, we want to make it more affordable and relieve these companies of some of the regulatory burdens that are in the way right now of them coming into markets like ours that are more rural. I’m anxious to make that happen.”

     Speaking of Internet access, listeners can preregister for the Town Hall meeting by visiting eventbrite and entering Bath County Town Hall with Ben Cline. 

“What would you say to any constituents who are coming to ask you questions and listen to your answers?”

“It’s a great opportunity for folks to share their views on subjects that are important to them.  Folks from Bath County will be able to ask questions first, and I’m going to try and have town hall meetings in all of my localities, but this one is for the residents of Bath, and I just hope to have a lively conversation on the issues, and i’s be a great evening, and I hope folks will turn out.”

Again, that meeting is 4:30 to 6:00 on Wednesday in the Warm Springs courthouse.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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