By Crystal Burns
U.S. Congressman David Kustoff made a surprise visit to the Trenton Rotary Club last week, but Rotarians pulled off their own surprise, asking Kustoff to fill in as guest speaker.
Kustoff, a Republican in his first term representing the 8th Congressional District, spoke to the club shortly after President Trump had addressed the United Nations and called for stiff sanctions against North Korea. Kustoff said he hadn’t seen the president’s speech but agreed that North Korea poses a serious threat to America.
Kustoff said the U.S. needs “complete buy-in” from China and Russia on sanctions, part of which is to cut off oil to North Korea.
“We’ve got to make it hurt,” he said.
Kustoff said America’s military options against North Korea “are not particularly good.”
“It’s very scary,” he said. “None of the options are very good.”
“We are the strongest nation on earth,” Kustoff added. “We will persevere.”
The House of Representatives was on recess last week while Kustoff’s colleagues in the Senate were still wrestling with healthcare. Kustoff said he had expected Obamacare to be repealed by now and noted that three-fourths of Tennessee counties only have one choice of health insurance carrier for those buying through the marketplace.
Tax reform is another of Kustoff’s priorities and one he said he hopes is done this year. At a legislative update hosted by the Greater Gibson County Chamber of Commerce in August, Kustoff said the goal is to reduce individual and corporate tax rates.
Kustoff told Rotarians that the house recently passed with a voice vote a bill that includes an amendment allotting $16M for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.
“We have to support our local, state and federal law enforcement,” Kustoff said.
He also spoke about the destruction Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently caused in Texas and Florida. Kustoff said he is concerned that the national flood insurance program is $25B in debt. He said the federal government should not be in the flood insurance business but should make it worthwhile for private insurance companies to write flood policies.
Kustoff said he is enjoying serving in the House of Representatives although the schedule can be grueling. He usually leaves for Washington, D.C. on Monday and comes home late Thursday or on Friday morning to spend time with his wife and two children and visit his district over the weekend.
“It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding work,” he said.
The Trenton Rotary Club meets Tuesday at noon in the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.