Minutes ago I returned from Cottage Grove Oregon where Congressman Peter De Fazio held the first of more than a dozen planned Town Hall Meetings in 4th Congressional District in Western Oregon, during August 2009.
Since there was not a Town Hall scheduled to be held in Corvallis this month I thought it was important to take the time to drive down Interstate 5 and be present at todays Town Hall in Cottage Grove Oregon. There were more than 400 citizens present and the space allotted in the Cottage Grove Community Center was woefully inadequate to accommodate the number of people who turned out.
The Town Hall was moved outside to the parking lot which was bearly large enough to meet the needs of those who had gathered to hear what Congressman De Fazio had to report on Health Care and other pressing issues.
As you may have guessed the main topic of the day was what was happening with the "Bill" dealing with Health Care? Bill HR 3200 is about as large as a good size novel and is largely a mix of words, metaphors and who knows what else. Congressman De Fazio told those gathered that he has "read the entire Bill". De Fazio then went on to say that "three Congressional Committees had already made revisions to HR 3200" and essentially before any Health Care Reform would be passed the present form of the "Bill" would be nearly totally rewritten.
Questions from the crowd were very appropriate, the first being how would any Health Care Bill that passed Congress be funded? There was no answer from Congressman De Fazio, funding for any "Bill" has yet to be figured out by those in Washington D.C.. Look out for taxing Health Care benefits!
The crowd was most courteous and civil throughout the just over one hour time allotted for this Town Hall. Once or twice a couple of "Hecklers" attempted to create a stir without much success. The residents of Cottage Grove are too shrewd to fall victim to what was most likely a misguided citizen or worse a planted agitator! Citizens do have the Right to Free Speech on all sides.
Others wondered about how any new Health Care Bill would affect "End Of Life Choices" and would there be any "Federal Funding of abortions?" Congressman De Fazio assured the crowd that, "there would be no Federal monies for any abortions." De Fazio went on to say that "80% of private Health Care plans already have some provision for dealing with abortions". De Fazio also made it a point to say that no one should be concerned over not receiving appropriate Health Care at any stage of life, young or old.
De Fazio also touted his opposition to TARP and Cap & Trade. He stated that he went against his Party and President Obama by voting against these measures.
In the crowd I met Leslie Rubinstein from the "Blackberry Pie Society" in Cottage Grove. Leslie was concerned about the "lack Of Civility" in earlier Town Halls around the United States and did not want to see that happen in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Also in the crowd was a Neurosurgeon that asked the Congressman about TORT reform. This Doctor was paying in excess of $100,000 per year in Mal Practice Insurance Premiums!
I also met Jaynee Germond, a candidate for Congress who will be running against Congressman De Fazio. One couple I talked with (seniors) said this was their first Town Hall. The issue of what would happen with their future Health Care had them very concerned.
I briefly spoke with Congressman De fazio at the conclusion of the Town Hall in the parking lot as he was heading to his next Town Hall in Drain, Oregon. De Fazio promised me an interview at a later date. I will followup with his office to see that the interview does take place sooner rather than later.
I plan on attending the Town Hall scheduled for Tuesday, August 18th in Junction City, Oregon. I will keep you informed on what transpires at that time.