Tuesday evening citizens of Beloit had the opportunity to attend a town hall meeting with Congressman Tim Huelskamp. Huelskamp said this is his fourth such meeting in Beloit. Before taking questions from his constituents, Congressman Huelskamp commented on our nation's debt, who owns that debt (mainly China and the Federal Reserve) regulations enforced by the Federal Government, and endangered species in the area.
During the question and answer period of the meeting, several concerns were brought to Congressman Huelskamp's attention by those in attendance. Among those concerns were how the situation in the Ukraine is effecting trade on a local level. The Congressman agreed that trade to and from this area is being effected by what is going on in Eastern Europe because of some of the goods that are bought in this region by those in Eastern Europe.
Another comment addressed by Congressmen Huelskamp was about investments and Wall Street. One local citizen pointed out that CD investments aren't doing well, but an investment on Wall Street seems to do much better. He asked the Congressman to comment on that, and his response was, "Just because the stock market does well, doesn't mean more people are working." The success of the stock market with local investors is only one indicator of how the economy is working, and his point was that just because the stock market may have gone up by 28%, did not mean that the economy or job market had a positive jump of 28%.
Congressmen Hueslkamp was also asked to comment on the EPA and some of the policies coming out of that agency such as designating animals like the ferret, prairie dogs, the minnow, and the prairie chicken as endangered species. He said in order to restrict policies coming out of the EPA, Congress would have to restrict it's budget. Since this would take the President's approval, he does not feel that would happen.
Other issues faced by the Congressman from the crowd included social policies that are negatively effecting the social security system. He commented that, "What we need is a more pro-growth tax system to promote entrepreneurship." He also said he has heard more from his younger constituents about social media issues such as the NSA spying on what they communicate through email, on social media, and through telephone conversations, but the Benghazi situation is what concerns many of his older constituents. Congressman Huelskamp said in regard to that situation that, "our response has been embarrassing." He said most of the people in Washington that could do something about investigating this situation don't care anymore to know what happened and who should be held accountable.
The VA was another topic of discussion that was addressed during the question and answer session, and the Congressman said that the running of the VA system is, "the worst example of incompetence." He shared examples of constituents who had to travel hours away from home because the VA said they had to go to a larger hospital to receive services or have tests run when he found out later that these patients could have had services performed in their own local hospital. The VA is one of Congressman Huelskamp's main focuses, so he relayed to the crowd that this is an issue he would keep working on.
Other topics of discussion included the Bureau of Land Management, the recent situation in Nevada, and why that entity has so many weapons at its disposal. The Congressman stated that many agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management have their own police force and have that many weapons to supply that part of their agency. Education came up as well since it was pointed out that through standardized testing the US ranks #16 in the world in its test scores. Congressman Huelskamp was asked how this can be, and the Congressman replied that even though more money has gone into the education system, the results have gone down. He stated that with programs such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core, the local education system, administrators, and teachers have been cut out of deciding how best to educate our students. In regard to social systems, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, he said, "We've lost some essential ingredients for this country to be successful. Culture is failing also." He felt that things like taking care of our neighbors, helping those who are in need locally, and having strong morals in general are things that don't happen like they used to and society as it is won't pick up the slack like it should.
In the Congressman's closing remarks, he asked for prayer for our country, for our leadership in Washington, for him in his position, and for his family while he is away in Washington. He thanked everyone for coming and greeted citizens in attendance personally.
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