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Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) held a series of town halls in the 4th Congressional District this past week (we attended one last night in Blue Springs – more on that in subsequent posts). At noon yesterday she held a town hall in Harrisonville, Missouri, an area which she previously represented in the 124th Legislative District of the Missouri House. There were a couple of reviews of this Harrisonville town hall via social media, distributed by individuals in attendance:

Vicky Town Hall/Love Fest a Joke

[….]on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 2:47pm

Wasted more than an hour of my day this afternoon at the Vicky Town Hall/Love Fest in Harrisonville. Nothing but pablum talking points and double-speak. The only people allowed to ask questions were those she knew on a first-name basis. Heaven forbid anyone should not be full onboard with the Vicky love fest. If anyone groaned or mumbled loudly in disagreement, they immediately got a police officer standing over their shoulder. She even contradicted herself so many times, I had to laugh. She’d take an easy question then take 10 minutes to answer because she really didn’t want to answer any. 95% were over 65. I bet if she told them she was going to change their Medicare & Social Security, it would have been a totally different scenario. Of course it wouldn’t effect them so what do they care. It was nothing but a JOKE!

Some of the comments:

OH – big surprise! 12 hours ago

Was therre also, what a waste. Cops stood behind me the whole time. 12 hours ago

My favorite question was could she do something to get more handicap spaces at Walmart. 12 hours ago

[….] that could well be a very important point. 11 hours ago

[….] that was probably the hardest question she took. 11 hours ago

And, another review:

She’s coming to your town

You are a rag tag group of people who don’t live in Cass County, home of the celebrated MS Hartzler. I saw her today, just “a couple miles from [her] house”, and let me tell you what to expect when she visits you. Vicky has been given a handful of slides which, if you examine them, are inaccurate and confusing on purpose. I bet Glen Beck made them up.

She will tell you that everyone “over 55” will keep the same Medicare and Social Security you have now; “Nothing will Change.” And, then she goes on to explain that if you are under 54, you will be able to buy into a range of plans, the same ones that the Congress can buy into. First of all, they don’t BUY shit – it is given to them. Second of all, isn’t that the same “single payer” plan we all wanted to begin with? But wait, what she doesn’t tell you about the Ryan Budget plan is that Social Security is kaput and you get a voucher for your health care – not the actual health care.

I have a list of questions we made up to ask but she only called those lucky 10 people who were 1) someone she knew from church or 2) was a friend of the family, or 3) was well over 55. The only way we could have asked questions was from the back of a police car (there were 2 uniformed officers and the sheriff standing around. One of the officers stood behind our Democratic Committee Chairman for the duration).

Some other highlights of the visit:

She would vote against all foreign aid but Israel is included in the package and she can’t stop herself from helping Israel. She is trying to sponsor legislation that would pull them out of the “foreign aid package” (no such animal).

She was unaware that people pulling money out of 401k’s when they are unemployed were having to pay a penalty and she will get back to us on that one.

She isn’t aware of any base closings this year. She talked for 10 minutes on that one and since the slide show took up 30 minutes we only had 20 minutes for all other questions.

She agreed with the fellow who thinks that all Corporate taxes should be eliminated and that everyone else should only have to pay 25% flat rate. I don’t know exactly who everyone else is.

Oil companies subsidies are too complicated to even think about. Her staffer handled that one and he did a good job of completely making everyone in the room believe it.

She suggested the gentleman complaining about handicapped parking at Walmart talk to the Mayor.

So I have attached my questions. I am sending them out into the world and if Vicky Hartzler dog and pony show comes to your town, be sure you don’t miss it. By the way, Show me Progress Blog will have a posting I can’t wait to see tomorrow because she had another gig in Jackson County (Blue Springs) tonight we could not go to. It wasn’t in her back yard and I am hoping she had some new hounds at her heels. Check it out.

The unanswered questions:

Health insurance for a family of four now costs somewhere between $12,000 and $14,000 per year with future increases above 8% per year.  What plan or program do you support to help middle class families pay for their health insurance?

Congressman Ryan has a budget plan to replace Medicare with vouchers.  The vouchers don’t do anything to keep the cost of health care from growing and don’t promise to cover those costs to Medicare users.  Won’t this system cripple the elderly who only have Social Security retirement income and Medicare to live on?

We went from 250 billion surpluses in 2000 to 1.6 trillion deficits by 2009.  How many cuts in Medicare and Social Security will be required to pay for all of that?

The new Republican budget plan you voted for cuts programs for the poor and middle class – Medicare and Medicaid and many others.  It also includes a cut in taxes for the wealthiest people in the country.  Do you think it is right to give tax cuts to the wealthy and force the poor and middle class to pay for those cuts?

I have read that by removing the Social Security caps on income over $250, 000 my great-grandchildren could be assured of having Social Security in their golden years.  Why doesn’t everyone pay the same share of Social Security tax?

Currently, estate taxes are paid only on estates worth over 5 million dollars at a rate of 35%.  Most estates are structured to avoid paying any taxes.  Are you concerned that eliminating the estate tax may create families that are permanently wealthy because those children were born rich?  (or – won the ovarian lottery)

You support the repeal of the Health Care Reform Act passed in 2010.  Doing so will allow health insurance companies to go back to denying coverage based on “pre-existing conditions.” Do you think health insurance companies should be allowed to deny coverage?

You’ve pledged to Americans for Tax Reform that you will never support any increase in taxes.  We are now looking for budget cuts in things like roads, fire and police protection, and public schools and community services.   Is there any function that government performs that you think should be preserved or improved rather than being cut again and how can you do that without breaking your pledge?

In 2008, the economy faced the prospect of a complete meltdown, primarily caused by leveraged investments by hedge funds, the largest commercial banks and insurance companies.  Faced with a meltdown, President Bush, and Hank Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury, told Congress bailouts were necessary to avoid a depression.  Do you believe the decision to bail out the hedge funds, commercial banks and insurance companies was the right thing to do?  If so, how much do those bailouts add to our current deficit?

Wealthy farmers are paid by the Federal Government to cover losses caused by bad weather and are also paid not to grow crops.  Your husband’s farm and our South County Commissioner, Bill Cook, receive those types of payments.  Do you favor making cuts in farm subsidies to large-scale farming operations like your own in order to help balance the budget?

I have heard that once again, Missouri might be interested
in raising taxes on gasoline.  Doesn’t it make more sense to end tax subsidies for big oil companies rather than make citizens pay more for gas in order to raise revenues?

Those are really good questions.