WEIRTON - Despite what he calls many "distractions" coming out of Washington in recent weeks, U.S. Rep. David McKinley is working to stay focused on what he feels is important to the American people; jobs.
"The American public is concerned about jobs and the economy," McKinley, R-Wheeling, said during an interview with The Weirton Daily Times this week.
McKinley, who held a town hall in Wheeling Thursday and spoke to the Rotary Club of Weirton on Wednesday, said he likes to travel through the 1st Congressional District and meet with residents and business owners to hear directly from them and learn about their problems and concerns.
He also has been holding numerous small business roundtable events, including a recent one in Wellsburg, where he sits down with representatives of area businesses to learn about their operations and the challenges they face as a result of today's business climate.
"You hear from a different perspective," he said. "It's very educational."
The Congressman said while construction jobs have been a big help, he wants to see efforts for more permanent positions to help rebuild the nation's economy. He applauded the work of the Business Development Corp. to rehabilitate and redevelop the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery site in Chester as an example of one possibility in the rebuilding process.
McKinley explained one of the ways he is trying to help is a proposal for a new tax credit which, he hopes, would provide an incentive to build on brownfield or former industrial sites.
Modeled after the Historic Homes Tax Credit, the proposal would return a set percentage of the redevelopment costs back to the business.
"I'm trying to take that model and move it over to the industrial side," he said. "It's only for manufacturing."
McKinley said he hopes to get the bill introduced prior to the November election, but doesn't know if it will see any movement through the legislative process for a while.
"I'm going to stay focused on jobs," McKinley said. "We have to put people back to work."
(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes, or followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)