Though he’s been a visitor to the Effingham College and Career Academy, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter has never had the up-close look at the campus and its offerings as he did Wednesday afternoon.
The first-term Congressman toured the ECCA and learned what students in the culinary arts, automotive technology, health care science, graphic design, engineering technology and aviation technology are doing.
Carter, who owns and operates several pharmacies, has had ECCA students working for him in internships.
“I can tell you through experience that the employers appreciate this,” he said of the training and knowledge imparted to ECCA students. “They want employees who are going to be coming and have that experience already. And they’re instilling more than technical experience. They’re concentrating and emphasizing the attitude and the appearance, all the soft skills that are very important. We appreciate that from an employer standpoint.”
Carter and his staff were in the district all last week, and he held four town hall meetings. He had three last Tuesday, one each in Jesup, Waycross and Kingsland, and one in Savannah last Wednesday. Carter fielded a variety of questions, and many of those posed to him at the Savannah meeting dealt with the environment.
“A lot of them had environmental concerns, about offshore drilling,” he said. “National security is a concern to everyone.”
Carter acknowledged there were some “curveballs,” those unexpected questions, but he also was happy to get queries that ran the gamut of
“That’s OK. That’s what that’s for,” he said of the town hall meetings. “I need to hear from the people. I need to hear the concerns, their issues, because that’s what I’m going to take back to Washington, D.C.
"There were a lot of pointed questions, a lot of strong beliefs that were expressed to us. That’s what we want to hear.”
Carter also has been vocal about his displeasure with President Obama’s executive actions, particularly on immigration and on guns.
“Our forefathers did not design our government to run that way,” he said. “That’s why we in the House actually sued the president on some of his executive actions in regard to immigration. This president in office now tends to ignore the Constitution or just stomp all over it. We’re going to make sure he follows the Constitution and we’re going to make sure we have a separation of powers, like we’re supposed to.”
Carter also has been a longtime critic of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. The House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority, passed the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act. The measure effectively guts the ACA, but the president vetoed. It was scheduled to come back before the House for a veto override vote Tuesday.
Carter also praised the work of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the one-time vice presidential nominee who agreed to replace the now-retired John Boehner.
“It is such a relief, such a fresh start for all of us,” Carter said. “Paul Ryan, as Trey Gowdy says, is the smartest kid in the class. He is an excellent communicator. He articulates his message well. He’s a big thinker. I can’t say enough god things about Paul Ryan. He is the leader we needed at the right time.”
Ryan has been able to coalesce the different GOP camps, bringing representatives more closely aligned with the Tea Party movement, into the fold, according to Carter. The new speaker also carries the respect, if not the affinity, of the other side of the aisle, Carter said of the House Democrats.
“There are a lot of different factions in our conference,” Carter said. “But Paul has managed to bring them all together and help us all understand we are all conservatives. We ultimately are all working toward the same goal and we need to get on the same song sheet and make sure we’re all singing from the same song sheet. They do respect him. He is representing all of the House. Paul Ryan is doing an excellent job representing Congress.”