Congressman Heath Shuler's Aug. 5 newsletter announced, "In an effort to reach as many people throughout the district as possible, I will be holding tele-town hall meetings on August 13, 2009 and September 1, 2009." Yes, you read that right. On one of the most critical issues of our time — health-care reform — our representative to Congress will be speaking to an RSVP-only crowd on the telephone.
It's game time for health-care reform, and everyone I know and talk to is on fire to express their opinions. They're hurting. They're losing their homes and their jobs, and they can't afford to take their kids to the doctor when they are sick. And after the August recess, all Congressmen will be back in D.C. listening to lobbyists from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries — not to our voices.
But instead of having real, live, town-hall meetings in the counties he represents that are open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis, our democratically elected representative is more worried about the next election's opposition research team than about openly, publicly listening to what District 11's constituents need. …
I'm tired of Shuler's watered-down answers on health care. What does he actually stand for? Is he willing to fight for us or is he going to wait for someone else in D.C. to decide our fates? Is he afraid he might sound dumb on camera? Does he have somewhere more important to be or someone more important to talk to than the general public? Perhaps fundraising for the reportedly $1,000,000 he has already collected towards his next election run? Let the public hear from him this August in person in all the counties he represents.
— Mary Alice Lamb