Local News

State Officials Push For Better Airport Security

Posted October 23, 2001

— North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) are taking to the skies to push for better airport security.

Both men have pushing for a bill to tighten airport security. The proposal would put the federal government in charge of security.

Edwards says the idea is to ensure proper training.

"We've got to make sure that the people who do the security checks in the airports are properly trained and educated and meet a certain standard. We also have to make sure the technology they use is the best it can be."

The Senate has already passed the bill unanimously, but the U.S. House has yet to take it up. Etheridge said Tuesday that it is time to break the stalemate.

"There is no excuse why the United States House has not taken up this action. I think the leadership is derelict in their responsibility of not taking it up," he said.

Republican House leaders object to a provision to federalize baggage screeners, but Etheridge thinks that would be an improvement over the minimum-wage workers currently handling security.

"I am not in any way casting aspersions on any of those workers," Etheridge says. "The truth is we aren't paying them enough, and they aren't getting the training they ought to get and the turnover is far too high."

Etheridge says federal workers would be better trained, career employees. Many travelers would welcome it.

Etheridge says the result would be more people flying, and a boost to the country's economy.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate. Etheridge believes it will receive overwhelming approval in the House, when the Republican leadership brings it up for a vote.


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