Rouzer talks border security, town halls and upcoming State of the Union

Rouzer talks border security, town halls and upcoming State of the Union

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Congressman David Rouzer has recently returned from visiting areas along the border between the United States and Mexico. Rouzer toured areas of the Rio Grande River Valley in Texas with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and other members of Congress.

"It's a complex situation," Rouzer said when asked about border security, and the efforts to follow through on President Donald Trump's desire to "build a wall" along the border between the two countries. "I didn't realize that so much of the land along the border is owned by private citizens, so it's private land. A lot of them don't want to build a wall, so if you are going to build a wall you're going to have to condemn their land through the use of eminent domain, and of course that would be tied up in the courts for a long time to come."

Rouzer's other major takeaway from the trip is how problematic the terrain is for building a wall as part of border security efforts. He says other aspects of the effort can be strengthened, such as beefing up border patrols, and using advance technology such as drones to monitor large swaths of land.

"Let's assume that all of the private landowners wanted to have a wall," the congressman said. "To go through there, cut down the brush and build the road that you need, and then to build the wall, would just be an enormous task because the terrain is not natural for that. But in some parts it can, and will, be done. I think you're going to see Congress increase funding for all aspects (of border security) including building the wall."

Rouzer is responding to calls for him to hold town hall meetings across his district. A grassroots group Suit Up Wilmington says it has invited the congressman to a town hall meeting on Friday, February 24, from 5 – 7 p.m., at Tidal Creek Co-op on Oleander Drive. The group bills the event as "a Q&A session so people can ask about Rep. Rouzer's positions on healthcare insurance, education and the environment". A news release says the town hall will go on with or without Rep. Rouzer's attendance.

Rouzer says he has had more than a dozen either town hall or "coffee" events where he can hear from constituents face to face. He mentioned hearing from fellow members of Congress, who report having people in town hall meetings feel intimidated by those who show up "just to make a ruckus for ruckus sake" as Rouzer put it.

"So when we have ours, I'm working through how I want to structure it to minimize the disruption so that those who are actually there for the purpose of having an exchange of ideas and who really want to have a good dialogue about the challenges we face as a country don't leave there feeling they were in harm's way," Rouzer said. "I've had a lot of colleagues tell me it was a problematic situation for many of the folks from their respective districts that came. I've had a number of coffees across the district in the past two years, and I've had the big town halls too. Those who have been there can attest that I enjoy the back and forth. I open it up and let them ask any question they want to ask."

As a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, Rouzer said he is looking forward to the State of the Union Address on February 28.

"I think you're going to hear him talk about his commitment to working with us to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common sense solutions," Rouzer said. "I think you'll hear him really focus on the need for tax reform. That's another area we're really focusing on to make this country the most attractive place to do business. I think you'll also see him talk about the need for infrastructure funding. All of that is critically important to growing the economy, and in many places across the country that infrastructure is in dire need of repair. I'm really excited our president has taken that on as a priority. But as a businessman, he recognizes how important that is to commerce and growing the economy."

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