Area needs answers not drive-by waves

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 4, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

Have you heard? President George W. Bush will visit southeast Ohio next week as he wraps up a six-state campaign tour.

The president will be in the area stopping in Huntington, W.Va., Portsmouth and Chillicothe, the White House announced late last week.

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Details of the President's schedule are kept close to the vest until the last possible minute for security reasons. We presume, however, he will travel through Lawrence County en route to Portsmouth.

While we are thrilled that Bush is coming to our neck of the woods, we cannot help but be disappointed a bit. Bush is following the trend of many national political figures - driving past Lawrence County and merely giving us a wave and a smile.

Lawrence County is no longer the prime stop it was years ago when, according to local lore, no fewer than five U.S. Presidents stopped in Lawrence County at the Ironton train depot.

But apparently our area is no longer as important as it once was. Most likely the interest in our county faded with the industrial power once housed in our county.

Ironically, the economic factors facing our area, while perhaps not fully caused by the federal government, certainly were not helped by our trade policies, the least of which was the North American Free Trade Agreement.

We support Bush on a number of levels, including national security and the war on terror, however we implore his administration to help areas such as ours to see how to improve our economic standing and improve the education of our children.

The Bush administration pushed for and achieved passage of the sweeping "No Child Left Behind Act" of educational reforms. Local educators, however, say they've struggled at times to accomplish the goals the act set forth with current funding limitations.

Lawrence County is like America in microcosm: supportive of Bush and our military in the war on terror. But many of us are a little confused by what either presidential candidate can and/or will do to help improve things in our home county, other than drive by, smile and wave.