Times Reporter

December 21, 2005

Congressman heads to Iraq

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON – Ohio Rep. Bob Ney left Monday on his first trip to Iraq as part of a congressionally sponsored visit to the nation days after millions of Iraqis went to the polls to elect a legislature.

Traveling with five other lawmakers, the Heath Republican said in a statement that his purpose was to gain a firsthand look at the war against terrorism in that nation. He expected to visit with troops and wounded soldiers and receive brief-ings from military commanders.

“Like all Americans, I want our troops to be able to come home as quickly as possible,” he said in the statement. “But while they remain engaged in the war on terror, and especially with the holiday season upon us, I look forward to telling them directly that I support them and that our nation owes them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Rep. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., is leading the trip. Other participants are Reps. John Boozman, R-Ark., Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., Gene Green, D-Texas, and Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Several officials indicated the lawmakers might return Friday, but they said details were being withheld for security reasons.

The delegation also planned to meet with Iraqi officials.

Ney has visited Afghanistan twice and attempted to visit Iraq last year, but the trip was canceled because of security concerns, his spokesman Brian Walsh said.

As chairman of the House Administration Committee, Ney last December organized a trip to Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey. During that visit, he met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Americans in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ney taught English in Iran in 1978 before entering politics.