Wednesday, May 31, 2017

US Representatives from Kansas, Roberts, Moran and Estes, ignore town hall meeting in Wichita

By SJ Otto
It was the Wichita Women's March Town Hall Meeting, last night here in Wichita, and three of our elected representatives were invited to come. When I first found out about it on Facebook, I thought that our congress people already planned on coming to meet with their constituents. I  have to admit I was surprised that our new slacker representative Ron Estes was coming. He rarely makes public appearances and he avoids anything that would cause him to have to do any work. So it was no surprise that he failed to show up. He said in a statement to KAKE TV that his schedule was busy since the election and he already held a town hall meeting using his phone. I don't know how anyone would know he had the phone-in meeting unless he just told his friends about it. I don't expect Estes to ever intentionally meet face to face with his constituents. He's just not that brave. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran also didn't show up. They have been in office much longer than Estes and they already know how much flack they can get from those constituents who they represent and have stabbed in the back. Those two are no braver than Estes. They know they can keep getting elected with money from the big backers such as the Koch brothers, Charles and David.
One representative who did come was Wichita City Council member Lavonta Williams, District 1. She is a more progressive politician than we usually get in Wichita. She took the time to come and show some interest in what her constituents had to say.
While I was at the meeting, a woman explained that she was conducting fund raisers to try and help more progressive people get elected. Here is an example of the big difference between conservative and more progressive politics. Big $billionaires such as the Kochs and Robert Mercer can just write a check. They don't have to fund raise. And while millions of people struggle to get congress people to listen to them, the Kochs, Mercers and others get an automatic audience with the many politicians they have bought.
So despite the lack of interest by our actual elected representatives, the meeting went on anyway. The moderator Cindy Claycomb, a candidate for Wichita City Council (District 6)  announced that they planned to tape the meeting and send a copy to the three Kansas legislators. I don't have much faith in out representatives that they will actually bother watching the tape. They know who votes for them and they know the big money backers who finance their campaigns and they act as if the concerns of those who don't vote for them and have no money don't count.
The meeting was ambitious. The topics included the Affordable Care Act, versus the American Health Care Act; climate change; children's issues, such as charter schools, school meals, food stamps; science funding, such as renewable energy; taxes; and women's issues.
Much of the meeting consisted of comments from those who were in attendance. There were about 40 people there.
Some of the comments were about the changes in the ACA:
"They (legislators) have insurance. They treat us like we are cattle," a woman said.
Another woman said she had just got over having cancer and the treatment cost $75,000.
"It's gone now, but what if it comes back?" She and many others said they are losing insurance with the new Republican plan.  
One man in the audience expressed his anger that our elected leaders don't want to listen to us.
"Let's go to the polls and get some revenge," he said. "If they won't listen to us and do their jobs, lets get someone who will."

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