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McKinley Thankful for Wheeling

Local service club representatives are shown with U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va. during a noon joint holiday luncheon at WesBanco Arena. From left are John Och, Wheeling Lions Club president; Corey Albers, Wheeling Kiwanis Club president; McKinley; and Michael Hires, Wheeling Rotary Club president.

WHEELING – The sound of hockey pucks striking the ice rink boards at WesBanco Arena was just one of the reminders of the great amenities Wheeling offers, U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley observed while speaking there Tuesday.

McKinley was the guest speaker at a joint service clubs luncheon at the arena, with members of the Wheeling Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary and Civitan clubs and guests in attendance.

Keeping with a Thanksgiving theme, McKinley noted how he brought fellow Republican Congressman Scott Tipton from Colorado to Wheeling and showed him what makes the Friendly City a great place to live. McKinley touted the Wheeling Nailers and Roughriders, the arena, the city’s waterfront and festivals, public parks and Winter Festival of Lights. He bragged about the city’s rich history, its wealth of Victorian-era architecture, the Wheeling Symphony, the Suspension Bridge and the diverse culture of people that make Wheeling a gem among cities.

After visiting Oglebay’s lights festival, McKinley said Tipton questioned if that was just a weekend event.

“He was blown away. They don’t have the history, the depth of what we have … the kind of culture,” McKinley said. “We have so many reasons to be thankful.”

McKinley offered his thanks to everyone from nurses to the military, waiters to teachers, prison guards to sanitation workers, day care workers to first responders, and the volunteer service club members attending the luncheon

The West Virginia lawmaker didn’t shy away from the darker issues that Wheeling has endured this year — the closing of Ohio Valley Medical Center and the downturn in the coal industry.

“I believe in my heart we will rebound from these things,” McKinley commented.

When asked about the possibility of the Ohio Valley attaining a cracker plant, McKinley spoke of the success of the natural gas industry and the numerous natural gas cracker plants in Texas. He said he had been working with Richard “Rick” Perry, secretary of energy, prior to Perry announcing he is leaving his post this year.

“Rick Perry and I have been trying to develop a second petroachemical complex, one that would be out of harm’s way of hurricanes on the gulf. The first step would be to expand Blue Racer and Williams to develop underground storage of ethane here. I know there are many people against storing it here, but there are 240 million barrels placed underground in Texas. We are only seeking to store 10 million barrels here.”

McKinley said pipeline safety would be at the forefront of any such effort.

He pointed out more global issues other countries are facing such as murderous drug cartels in Mexico, uprisings in Hong Kong and the violence in Israel.

McKinley was asked why the United States isn’t firing back when missiles are being launched at Israel. He explained that the missiles are being launched from school yards and hospital parking lots, often from mobile launchers.

“We won’t fire missiles into school yards. We’re not going to play their game.”

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