Congressman gets taste of citizens' frustrations
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@cherokeetribune.com
September 03, 2011 12:00 AM | 3681 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) answers a question from the audience during Thursday morning’s town hall meeting at the Ben Robertson Community Center in Kennesaw.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Laura Moon
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) answers a question from the audience during Thursday morning’s town hall meeting at the Ben Robertson Community Center in Kennesaw.
Cherokee Tribune/Laura Moon
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KENNESAW - U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) learned just how frustrated citizens are with officials in Washington during a sometimes-fiery town hall meeting Thursday at the Ben Robertson Community Center in Kennesaw.

Gingrey spoke briefly about the upcoming debt ceiling discussions, unemployment, federal regulations and redistricting before turning the hour-and-a-half-long meeting over to comments from the audience of about 60 people. Gingrey's newly revised 11th congressional district loses several counties northwest of Cobb County, keeps most of Cobb and picks up Cherokee County and a portion of Buckhead.

"Things change, and you have to play with the hand you're dealt," Gingrey said.

The new congressional district map that gained final approval by the General Assembly on Wednesday is expected to be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal soon before heading to the Justice Department for final approval.

One of Gingrey's potential new constituents, Jean Garner of Canton, said she was excited to have Gingrey represent her, but angry that his Republican colleagues aren't doing more to stop harmful policies coming out of the Obama administration.

"The Republicans as a whole are not doing any more than they have to in most cases, as far as I'm concerned. They need to stand up and call a liar a liar," said Garner, 60. "We have got to see some guts and some cojones from our Congress. We have to now."

Garner represented many of those at the town hall meeting who expressed disappointment that not enough is being done in Washington to improve the economic circumstances of the country. Many called for more federal spending cuts to be made.

Steve Blue, 64, of Marietta, who has been unemployed for the past two years, expressed his frustration over a lack of cuts to the benefits that members of Congress receive as federal employees, when other Americans are seeing their benefits reduced.

Bill Boyle of Acworth told Gingrey that he and other Republicans need to stop engaging Democrats in blame games - such as the latest disagreement about when the president should address a joint session of Congress - and get Americans back to work by putting forth solid economic plans.

"What the American people no longer want is the Washington two-step," said Boyle, 65.

"They don't want you blaming them and them blaming you. You couldn't even agree on a meeting being on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Take the high ground, attack and put people back to work with solid proposals."

Audience members applauded Boyle's comments.

The five-term congressman told the lively audience that he hopes a new bipartisan committee of 12 elected officials that will plan out the second round of the debt ceiling debate will go far in reducing the national deficit.

The committee is supposed to report to Congress just before Thanksgiving, and then both chambers will vote on the plan by Dec. 23.

Gingrey said he voted against the debt ceiling deal - which raised the debt limit and allowed the government to narrowly avert a default - because it didn't include the House-approved "Cut, Cap and Balance" fiscal plan, that would have cut total spending by $111 billion for fiscal year 2012, capped spending at 18 percent of GDP, and called for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitutional.

"When we go back to Washington, we're looking at the president's request for an additional $1.5 trillion increase in the debt ceiling," Gingrey said.

"John Boehner, speaker of the House, and Eric Cantor, majority leader, have said once again there will be dollar-for-dollar cuts in spending for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling, or we're not going to support it."

Gingrey called unemployment in America a "crisis," and blamed regulation for hurting small businesses. Gingrey said he was informed that the Environmental Protection Agency's new 15 percent ethanol-blended gasoline regulation will hurt the business during a visit to Yamaha's Marine Service Division in Kennesaw on Thursday.

When House members return to Washington from their summer recess, Gingrey said they plan to introduce measures that prevent overregulation.

"We're going to require congressional review and approval of any government regulations that have a significant impact on the economy or small business," he said. "And we are going to audit existing and any pending regulations to identify and address those that hinder economic growth."

That comment earned one of Gingrey's loudest applauses at the meeting.
Comments
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GoodScout
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September 03, 2011
Oh, Tom Price, where art thou?

Looks like we elected a demagogue, a political-game player, an anti-middle-class plutocrat and a coward to represent us. Better luck next fall.
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