By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

Democratic congressional candidate Mary Beth Harrell spoke to a number of area residents Tuesday at a town hall meeting to address people's concerns about Iraq, current gas prices, the Trans-Texas Corridor and illegal immigrants.

Harrell spoke about what she would do if she beats Republican incumbent John Carter and Libertarian Matt McAdoo for the District 31 seat. Neither Carter nor McAdoo attended the meeting at the Killeen Community Center.

"The first thing we need to do is make a difference in Iraq," she said. "It's hurting us. We (the United States) are seen as bullies right now in Iraq who have a double standard."

She also went on to say that the military is being stretched too thin, and that it's weakening the U.S. position and influence in the world.

"This administration has continued to rubber-stamp failed policies," Harrell said. "The current strategy is not working. We can't forget the lessons that we learned in Bosnia."

Harrell also said that her biggest goal is make the United States energy-independent. She wants to continue to explore alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen and solar power, and believes that energy independence is going to be the "moonshot for the next generation."

She also said that there needs to be a concerted political effort to resolve the 700-mile barrier and fence along the Mexican border considered by Congress. She said she believes that there are more cost-effective ways of protecting the U.S. border than with a triple-wide fence.

"That's just election-year theatrics," she said. "The main question we need to be asking these illegal aliens we pick up is who have you been working for' and how long.' If we could collect all the missing payroll taxes from the employers, we could solve Social Security."

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