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Lawmakers should be open to town hall meetings regardless of the potential for some heatPosted Friday, August 14, 2009, at 2:19 PM
There will be a visitor in Linton on Tuesday.
Eighth District U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth is the guest speaker for a noon luncheon of the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce at Phil Harris Golf Course.
Chamber officials stress this is a public meeting -- open to anyone who wants to shell out $8 to pay for the barbecued meal being whipped up by celebrity chef -- Greene County Democrat Party Chairman Jeff Lehman.
They also stress that this is not a town hall meeting. This is a monthly meeting of the chamber organization.
The Chamber members will receive an update on issues important to them -- like small business legislation.
Live questions from the floor will only come from Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce members, according to officials.
That's kind of funny, because the meeting as of Friday morning was listed on the Web site for Fox News (www.foxnews.com) in a section call Find a Town Hall that shows public appearance sites for Democrat and Republican Congressmen.
L-S Chamber Executive Director Cheryl Hamilton had contacted Fox News and let them know that the Linton meeting is not a town hall session, but it's still listed.
The Evansville Democrat has not made a public stance on the health care bill, according to his hometown newspaper, The Evansville Courier and Press.
On Friday morning, his press secretary Liz Farrar called to tell me that the Congressman has not scheduled any town hall meetings in the district so technically he has not canceled any, like some other Congress members.
Town hall meetings were not part of Ellsworth's normal August recess agenda this year or in the past, Farrar says.
She contends the Congressman is not avoiding taking the heat on the health care or any other issues saying that his office has been aggressive about giving citizens throughout the district the opportunity to voice comments in a variety of forums.
Farrar did say that Rep. Ellsworth would be taking questions from Linton-Stockton Chamber members on a variety of issues at Tuesday's meeting.
"The Congressman is looking forward about having a debate about all of the issues that folks in Linton care about, including health care," she stated.
In my humble opinion, he should be open to hear from the people who put him in office as well as from those who did not support him.
As a way to hear from the people more directly, Ellsworth is hosting small groups for rounds of 15-minute, one-on-one, face-to-face chats during the current Congressional break, according to Farrar.
There is some credence to that approach, but to me it gives the appearance of wanting to stay clear of the hot issue in a more public and accessible forum while the heat is stoked up a few degrees.
Considering the importance and much confusion associated with the health care legislation, I would think having a few town hall meetings around the district might be a good way of getting a feel from the people back home on this and other important issues.
I'm not advocating that the Congressman should subject himself to any verbal abuse, shouting or rantings from those who aren't particularly fond of the healthcare reform initiative. No one deserves that kind of treatment.
Orderly comment from the public ought to be a healthy thing.
But really folks, he is my representative and your representative in Washington D.C. and he should be able to take a little heat from his constituents back home on any issue.
Admittedly, government-controlled health care is a hot button issue and the sad thing about it is, few of us really know what's in the details and the fine print contained in the current version drafted by the U.S. House of Representatives or in the Obama plan.
We hear a lot of talk about negative election campaigns from the voters and the media.
How much positive have you heard from the Democrats or the Republicans on the current healthcare system?
To be real honest they are not even trying to sell us on why the ObamaCare plan is good or bad medicine for us.
Some are calling it socialized medicine while others are trashing the current way system.
Like I said, I don't know what's in the bill, but I can pretty safely say that a government-run health care program is not free.
It may be free for a few, but for most of us it is not.
Our president has talked a lot on the stump around the country about the benefits of his plan, but who will pay for it seems to remain the budget-choking $64,000 question. The truth of the plan is in the details.
If the track record of other government-run programs like Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid are an indication of the possible success of a government-run healthcare system, we might want to stand back and read the details in the 1,018 page bill before jumping on the bandwagon of support.
For anyone interested, a copy of the entire House healthcare proposal is available at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h32.... A copy of the Obama plan can be read at http://patientsunitednow.com/?q=node/233
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wordmaster1953 .
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