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McKinney unveils contract with 12th District
05.29 mckinney
Congressional candidate Ray McKinney discusses what to do about rising energy prices. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

What separates him from the other candidates vying for Georgia’s 12th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is he’s from the district, grew up in the district, has raised a family and works in the district, Ray McKinney said.

People in the district can vote for either a professional politician, he said Wednesday morning, “or someone who’s like us, who’s disappointed and fed up.”

McKinney, an Effingham County High School grad, is one of three Republican hopefuls for the seat currently held by John Barrow (D-Savannah) touted his 12-point contract with 12th District voters Wednesday. His plan outlines his desire for a long-term national energy plan, reducing food costs by eliminating the corn for ethanol program, a comprehensive overhaul of the national tax code, implementing free market concepts for health care and the support of free and fair trade policies.

“I was campaigning on most of the issues since November of last year. The long-term energy plan is something I’ve been campaigning about since April of last year,” he said. “In July of last year, I was one of the few people who thought gas could reach as much as $5 a gallon. At the time, people thought I was a little crazy.”

What’s driving the price of oil, and as a result the price of gasoline at the pump, is supply and demand, McKinney — there’s plenty of demand, and the nation can improve the supply quickly.

“We have resources off the Gulf Coast. We have resources in Alaska. We have an estimated 255-year supply of petroleum in Wyoming alone,” he said. “We have oil and natural gas resources right here in Georgia. I can remember in the ’70s when people were buying and selling mineral rights in the Clyo area. Atlanta Gas and Light estimates that we have a 3,500-year supply of natural gas right here in the United States.”

McKinney said the federal government also could suspend its taking of royalties from oil — which are done in the form of oil for the national strategic petroleum reserve — and putting those on the market. That would increase the supply and could help lower the national debt.

Fuel speculators, also widely blamed for having a part in the escalating prices, could be held in check by a nation determined to dictate its own future energy needs, according to McKinney.

“They know demand is outstripping supply. Once word gets out we are serious about making changes in the way we do business, that is going to drive the prices down,” he said. “If you’re a fuel speculator  and you know the United States is going to reach for energy independence in the next five to 10 years, you’re going to take that into account.”

McKinney said sources other than corn can be used to make ethanol and not negatively affect the food supply to such a degree.

“We do have other products that are not foundations for our food chain,” he said, noting the use of pine trees and switchgrass in new ethanol-producing plants. “Why would you take a foundation food product and convert into fuel when you could take waste products and convert those into fuel?”

The U.S. also could rely more on nuclear power, and McKinney pointed to nuclear power as a way to generate abundant cheap electricity that could lead to the production of more hydrogen. General Motors is working on a hydrogen-powered auto.

Georgia Power announced its plans for two more reactors at Plant Vogtle outside of Waynesboro. McKinney worked on the  site during its construction.

“Southern Nuclear would have started work on units 3 and 4 a long time ago if they would have gotten cooperation from the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission),” he said. “I work out there in industry. I could see what’s coming down the road. I can see what kind of government programs are causing problems for industry.

“I want to work with private industries, I want to work with the EPD, I want to work with the NRC. I want to get things moving, cut a little bit of the red tape and get some real solutions going on.”

Thursday: A forum with  three Republican candidates will be held at Wild Wing Cafe in Savannah at 7 p.m.