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News State / Region Congressman Meadows speaks at FHS; addresses concerns with Q & A

Freshman Congressman Mark Meadows fielded questions on Monday at the Franklin High School Fine Arts Center.Residents of Macon County were invited to attend a “town hall” type meeting at the Franklin High School Fine Arts Center with Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, representative of Macon and 16 other Western North Carolina counties in the 11th district, in the United States House of Representatives.

Supporters of Meadows and Bob Penland who serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Congressman greeted attendees.

“We're so thankful to have you here,” he said with a firm handshake while waiting for the event to begin.

According to Meadows, he is one of the only representatives in Congress who is meeting with members of his district at a series of town hall meetings. Meadows said he and his staff have just passed 20,000 responses to emails and letters in the span of seven and a half months. Upon taking the stage, he reiterated his commitment to the 11th district by reinforcing his stance on a representative government.

According to Meadows, he is one of the only representatives in Congress who is meeting with members of his district at a series of town hall meetings. Meadows said he and his staff have just passed 20,000 responses to emails and letters in the span of seven and a half months. Upon taking the stage, he reiterated his commitment to the 11th district by reinforcing his stance on a representative government.

“A while back I was on the phone with a reporter when she asked me how I was going to vote on an upcoming bill and I told her I didn't know,” he said. “I told her I wouldn't know until my staff could give me a number of those in our district who were in support of it and in opposition of it because I believe that that is how government should be run.”

The congressman quickly moved on to the question and answer portion of the meeting. As attendees entered the building, they were given an opportunity to submit questions that would be read by a member of the staff.

Bill Crawford asked if there would be anything done about the loss of funding to many Head Start positions as a result of the sequester, a topic he wanted discussed more in depth.

“One of the things that has led to this is the mismanagement of services. We have to get rid of duplicate agencies,” Meadows said. “You have multiple agencies saying they can offer this service better. We need to get down to one agency. I don't think this money is coming back until we get a real fix on this problem. We have to manage our money better.”

The effects of the federal sequester was a talking point often throughout the night which provided the opportunity to address a variety of issues concerning social programs like disability and food stamps.

“There are going to be people who do need some help. There are people who can't work and that's why I don't think we should cut these programs, but we do need to change the qualifications,” said Meadows. “I don't think you should be able to go to an agency, qualify for one program and then as a result, qualify for all programs.”

Another attendee pointed to the fact that when Meadows was running for the vacant seat of Congressman, he had promised to bring jobs back to Western North Carolina. Citing recent trends of rising unemployment numbers in the this part of state, she asked where the jobs were.

“One of the ways that I am trying to bring jobs back to Western North Carolina is by fighting to reduce regulations for companies looking to establish themselves here. For every five percent reduction in regulations there are 1.2 million ad ditional jobs. My heart breaks for the unemployed and that's why we have to address the fact that there is too many regulations by our federal government.”

Another topic of great concern was the Affordable Health Care Act or “Obamacare.” Signs and pamphlets were on display outside of the building before Meadows arrived showing only disdain for the act. It was apparent that it was on the minds of those in attendance.

A lot of those in attendance questioned the Congressman’s ideas about the healthcare reform that is beginning to be implemented.

“I do not support Obamacare,” said Meadows. “I do support finding a way to cover people with pre-existing conditions. I support trying to find a way to lower rates. The problem with this plan is that it was not ready to go when it was proposed. You cannot implement it on businesses and make your every day citizen start paying.”

Meadows closed out the forum after almost two hours of speaking to the constituents in attendance. He says that by the time he is done hosting the town hall meetings, he will have had one in all 17 counties that he represents.





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published: 10/18/2013
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