SAN ANGELO, TX — “If there was an accident the immediate contamination radius is 50 miles,” said Jon Mark Hogg, the Democratic Party candidate for congress, district 11. Hogg is talking about the proposed high level nuclear waste storage in Andrews that is working its way through the federal and state agencies right now. Andrews is a town near Midland.
Hogg sat down for an interview on camera after the candidate forum at the San Angelo Home Builders Association luncheon in San Angelo on Wednesday. There, he faced his two opponents, Wacey Alpha Cody, the Libertarian candidate; and August Pfluger, the Republican candidate.
Hogg opposes storage of highly radioactive waste in CD-11 and this has become one of his signature issues. Hogg explained that to get the radioactive waste here, from over 100 nuclear power plants, it will be transported by rail through Dallas/Fort Worth, Abilene, Big Spring, and Midland. The cargo is very large, highly radioactive spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants.
“It’s a big issue and not well-known across the district. But when people find out about it, they are surprised,” Hogg said.
The facility also exposes the oil fields of the Permian Basin to a national security threat. Hogg claimed the nuke waste facility will become a terrorist target.
Hogg, who has served San Angelo for 28 years as an attorney focused on solving problems for area businesses, is also passionate about finding solutions to foster better health care in rural Texas.
He doesn’t believe the Affordable Care Act should be dismantled, although he believes the legislation was not as good as it should have been.
“Steel sharpens steel,” Hogg said. By that, he meant having both political parties hash out major legislation like Obamacare would have created better legislation. But the legislation was passed without any Republican support. Now, however, we have lived with the ACA for a decade, and Hogg proposed tweaking the system as a starting point. Among the challenges to solve are maintaining the ACA’s promise of health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and providing a single-payer option for Americans who cannot afford health care, Hogg said.
Hogg said fixing these issues in Washington will help foster a better business environment for hospitals serving rural areas like CD-11. He said the Shannon Health acquisition of San Angelo Community Medical Center was a result of federal policy, in part.
“One of the issues is a health care system that does not encourage competition in these areas. Huge numbers of uninsured and indigent care make it very difficult for rural hospitals to survive,” he said.
How to insure more Americans will help hospitals collect what they bill. Hogg suggested that Texas should still take advantage of Medicaid expansion that was offered with Obamacare 10 years ago. That would provide more free or reduced cost health insurance to CD-11 residents further up the salary scale.
“Not a big fan of Medicare for all. I don’t trust big solutions to big problems. I am in favor of a public option,” Hogg said.
Watch the video interview above.
Other video interviews of the candidates for congress, CD-11:
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