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House candidate discusses views
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While campaigning around the district, Republican nominee for Congress Rick Goddard stopped by Covington last week to talk about energy policy, the Iraq War and Sarah Palin.

Goddard, a major general and the former commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, is challenging three-term Democrat Jim Marshall for Georgia's 8th Congressional seat.

Goddard said he supports an "all of the above" energy policy for the United States, which he said includes offshore drilling and drilling in Alaska.

"I am strongly in favor of going after those resources that belong to us, whether they be in Alaska, whether they be offshore" he said, adding that he also supports the advancement of clean energy technologies such as wind and solar energy. "Every single future opportunity for energy in this country should be explored and if possible put into play."

He said he would "absolutely not" support a carbon emissions tax or a cap-and-trade policy because it would "destroy" the economy.

Supporters of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions or a cap-and-trade policy, including Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain, have said that it is one of the best tools the United States has to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are one of the leading causes of climate change.

"I believe climate change is drastically overstated," Goddard said, adding that doesn't mean he wouldn't do "everything possible to protect and preserve our environment."

In their Fourth Assessment Report last year, the International Panel on Climate Change, a group of more than 2,500 scientists, said the science behind climate change is "unequivocal" and that it is 90 percent certain to have been caused by human activities.

Goddard also had harsh words for the Democrats in Congress who, in the wake of record high gas prices, have become more open to offshore drilling after previously opposing it. He accused them of political expediency, including his opponent, Jim Marshall.

He then went on to criticize both parties in Congress for failing to work together.

"I think the institution of Congress is at risk," Goddard said. "I lay the blame at the feet of both Republicans and Democrats."

Goddard promised that if elected, he would "get out on tough issues" and take "political risks."

"Nobody has been willing to take the risk and say we've got to fix the problem," he said.

On the Iraq War, Goddard said he believed the United States' 2003 invasion and ensuing five-year occupation of the country has "prevented the Persian Gulf from potentially growing into a much more dangerous place."

"I hate to boil this down to oil, but the Persian Gulf wouldn't be important if it wasn't for oil," Goddard said. "At the point we're in now, we must make sure that the Middle East remains a stable environment. An interruption of just weeks in that oil supply would turn the economy of the world on its head."

Goddard had glowing words for Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor and the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee.

"The energy, the sense of destiny with this McCain/Palin team, it just overwhelms almost the core of the party," he said. "She just brings a whole strength of character."

Goddard said the Republican Party is currently focusing on winning the presidential race and the kind of a role Palin would have in the White House if McCain wins has not been discussed.

"I don't think at this time that is something anyone is thinking about," Goddard said. "It truly depends on the president as to how much flexibility and leeway he's going to let her have."