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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rogers holds Montgomery town hall


David Ledford used one of his only days off in the last two weeks on Thursday to attend a town hall meeting so he could address his congressman.
The airline pilot, who lives in Montgomery, wanted to tell U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers and others that the people attending town halls throughout the nation are not angry mobs. They are working-class people concerned about the future of the country.
And Ledford is not just talking about pending health care proposals.

Ledford was in a crowd of about 100 people who listened to Rogers, R-Saks, speak and answer questions on Thursday at Auburn Montgomery.
Some people have criticized the other congressman who represents a portion of Montgomery, U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery, for not having a live town hall.
Bright hosted a telephone town hall on Wednesday with about 4,400 people participating, according to his office.
Lewis Lowe, communications director for Bright, has said the congressman can reach more people by phone and the format is easier for constituents who never have to leave their house.
Critics have said Bright is able to screen the questions asked on the phone and that it does not allow people to follow-up on their questions.
Like Bright, Rogers is firmly against the current health care proposals before Congress.

If there is a public option that does not have to make a profit, is not taxed and has less regulation, private companies will not be able to compete, Rogers said.
"Everything slowly erodes until the only option is the public option," he said

Rogers said his local paper has called him a "fear-monger."
"I don't think it's fear-mongering. I think it's doing my job," he said.
Rogers said he believes the current health care proposal considered to be the "gold standard" by Democratic leaders will be changed before it comes to the House floor because Speaker Nancy Pelosi will need to compromise with conservative Democrats to pass the legislation.

"Don't get too concerned about what is in the bill now," Rogers said. "It will probably change and it could be worse."

With procedural tactics that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has discussed using that would only require 51 votes to pass a health care plan in the Senate, Rogers said southern Democrats such as Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and others in more conservative states can vote against the plan.
Rogers said those Democrats can go home and criticize the plan. They can "dog cuss Harry Reid. They can dog cuss Nancy Pelosi," he said.
With the situation being volatile, Rogers said people might not be stuck with a public option.

D'Linell Finley, a political science professor at AUM, reminded Rogers that the excessive spending did not start with the Obama administration.
Rogers agreed, but said "they make us look like amateurs." He said the excessive spending is one reason people voted Republicans out.

"We spent too much," he said.

Mark Montiel, cohost of the "Morris and Montiel" radio Show and a former state appeals court judge, criticized Rogers for voting along with the Democratic majority for the "Cash for Clunkers" program. He said the state's two U. S. senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, voted against the program.
"Why should my money go to buy anybody a car," Montiel asked. He later told Rogers that the congressman voted wrong.
Rogers fired back that the plan was not perfect, but there are people in his district who work for auto manufacturers and suppliers and they were hurting. He said Hyundai has returned to a five-day work schedule and that another manufacturer in the state that was laying people off is now hiring.
"I don't apologize to anybody for that (vote)," Rogers said. He said people could vote him out if they disagree.


-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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