Allen visits Suffolk

Published 11:21 pm Monday, January 9, 2012

A well-recognized pair of cowboy boots came stomping through Suffolk on Monday.

Former governor and senator George Allen’s campaign to return to his U.S. Senate seat carried him and his boots through Suffolk to tour Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in North Suffolk.

Former Gov. George Allen visited Suffolk on the campaign trail Monday to promote his “Blueprint for America’s Comeback.” It involves a number of economic and government regulation proposals.

It wasn’t his first visit to the facility, but things have changed, he said.

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“There’s some new challenges facing them now,” Allen said, especially related to the closure of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. “I want to get up to date on what they’re doing, their capabilities and how that fits into commercial, civilian and government uses.”

Before his tour of VMASC, Allen stopped by a Harbour View sandwich shop to talk to the News-Herald about his “Blueprint for America’s Comeback,” which includes a plethora of proposals he believes will create jobs, economic opportunity and American competitiveness in the global marketplace.

“I’ve been hearing from so many people,” he said. “People are really concerned about the economy and want to get it moving in the right direction.”

Allen hopes to square off against another former governor, Tim Kaine, for the U.S. Senate seat being left open by the retiring Jim Webb. But he has to win the Republican nomination in June to do so.

One of the cornerstones of Allen’s plan is reducing regulations and taxes on job creators.

He hopes to reduce the federal tax on businesses from 35 percent to 20 percent, which he says will create half a million jobs each year. He also hopes to reform the tax code to include offering a flat tax option.

He also would initiate a review of regulations, examining their purpose, whether they are accomplishing their purpose and whether the purpose could be better achieved in some other way.

When he undertook such a review of Virginia’s regulations as governor, he said, about 70 percent of state regulations were eliminated or changed.

“You always have to be looking at better, less burdensome regulations,” Allen said. “I’ve heard more [business people] grousing about regulations than anything else.”

He also would promote sunset dates in new regulations to build in automatic reviews, as well as require Congress to vote on any new regulation that would have a nationwide impact of more than $100 million.

Allen also wants to encourage drilling for oil and natural gas off Virginia’s shores. Not only would that create jobs, he said, but also Virginia would get 37.5 percent of the royalties to help pay for roads and transportation.

“America is No. 1 in the world in energy resources,” he said. “That needs to be looked at as a blessing, as opposed to a curse.”

He said finding more energy sources in America will help control costs, create jobs and diminish vulnerability to outside forces.

“We need to be in control of our own energy destiny,” he said.

Allen also talks up his hopes to make government less meddlesome and more accountable, including docking Congress members’ pay if they don’t meet deadlines to decide on budget bills.

“There’s no reason they can’t get appropriations bills done on time,” Allen said.

He acknowledged the proposal won’t be very popular with his colleagues if he gets elected, but “it sure is popular with the people.”