Missouri Sen. McCaskill tackles the economy at town hall meeting

Thursday, September 9, 2010 | 9:32 p.m. CDT

FULTON — Sen. Claire McCaskill wasn't afraid to talk tough about the economy in a town hall meeting Thursday in Fulton. 

"I'm going to tell you what you don't want to hear," McCaskill said repeatedly to a room of constituents.

In the last of a series of eight town hall meetings held throughout the state, McCaskill discussed topics including job creation and Missouri's role in the coal industry as it relates to the national economy.

McCaskill said she does not support the extension of a program that provides subsidies to create jobs for those with low incomes. Instead, she advocated a pay-as-you-go policy, which would require the government to pay up front for spending. 

"I think we have to be careful about supporting emergency funding unless we can pay for it," McCaskill said.

Robin Acree attended the town hall meeting with Grass Roots Organizing, a group with the stated focus of rebuilding the working class in Missouri. About 15 members of the organization were there, all wearing white T-shirts that read "I Need A Job" in bold, blue letters across the front.

"The main reason we wanted to come was to push the economy," Acree said. "People in mid-Missouri need jobs, and that is why we are here."

When one constituent posed a question about carbon emissions, McCaskill diverted the topic back to the coal industry and its role in the economy.

After briefly acknowledging climate change, McCaskill emphasized Missouri's coal dependence and the importance of coal-generated power for the state and its revenue.

"We have no choice but to generate by coal," she said.  

McCaskill said she wants to be careful about emissions regulation and going green without hurting Missouri's economy. For now, she said she is not willing to put a price on carbon.

The town hall meeting was held at William Woods University. 

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