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Bass visits Berlin to connect with voters



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Former Representative Charlie Bass stopped at at Gallus and Green on Friday to get reacquainted with voters in the lead up to his 2010 congressional bid. (Photo by Erik Eisele) (click for larger version)
July 21, 2010
BERLIN — "I have two messages today," Charlie Bass said to a small roomful of supporters at Gallus and Green Realty on Friday evening.

He paused as another late arrival squeezed into a seat at the table. There were a dozen people in all, many of whom knew Mr. Bass well. He waited until the room was quiet again.

First, Mr. Bass said, I want Congress to form a committee who's job is to squeeze wasteful spending out of Washington. It would be both Democrats and Republicans, he said, and they would go through every bill looking for ways to reduce the deficit.

"It's our money that they're using," he told the group that had gathered to hear his platform for his U.S. House of Representatives bid.

He came to reintroduce himself to voters, he said, and to ask for their support. He is one of five republicans running for the seat Representative Paul Hodes is leaving to run for U.S. Senate.

Second, he said, I want to form a biomass energy caucus in Congress, of representatives from regions where the promise of green energy can help save the economy.

"We need a strong voice to protect and support this new industry," he said, which has been beset by environmentalists in recent months looking to delegitimize it.

Mr. Bass works for Laidlaw Berlin Biopower, which is working to build a 70 megawatt biomass project in Berlin.

He was quick to distance his candidacy from his work with Laidlaw, however.

"I don't want it to get connected with me as a Republican candidate for congress," he said, because he doesn't want his candidacy to jeopardize the project.

His platform, however, knits him tightly with the biomass industry.

Environmental concerns stem from a scientific study the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences released last month. Performed the study for the state of Massachusetts, the study found it can take more than 40 years in some cases to see environmental benefits from switching to biomass from fossil fuels for electricity generation.

"It's not true," Mr. Bass told supporters. He wants to keep the environmentalists from destroying the industry, he said.

He criticized the Obama administration on the stimulus package, the health care bill, its handling of immigration and government spending, and he pointed to the government's record of budget surpluses when he was in office.

According to White House Office of Budget and Management records, the federal government had a surplus for four of Mr. Bass' 12 years in office, from 1998 to 2001. The other eight years there was a budget deficit.

If the country's direction over the last 18 months continues unchecked for another five years, he said, the country will be so far astray from its 200 year history it will never come back.

He emphasized his efforts in Berlin over his six terms in Congress.

"I spent more time worrying about preserving employment in this town than anyone else in the state," he said. "I want to do what I can as a congressman to bring jobs to this city."

He proposed to do that by cutting the corporate tax rate.

This has been a homecoming of sorts, he said, because he's reconnecting with the voters who sent him to Washington from 1994 to 2006.

"I've had the best time campaigning," he said, but it's more than that. He isn't running because he wants to be a congressman, he said, he's already done that. He's running to make a difference.

"Any help you could give me would be great," he said.

PeterCavanagh
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