Concerned Saint Joseph citizens greeted congressman Sam Graves with a standing ovation on his 18th stop on his Main Street Matters Tour, August 24.
Congressman Graves began his opening speech with a visual of the 10-inch thick health care bill, HR 3200, by slamming it down on the stage in the Potter Hall Theater at Missouri Western State University.
“This isn’t a revenue problem,” Graves said. “This is a spending problem.”
After his opening speech, Graves and his staff opened up the floor to the 500 plus patrons concerned about the route that congress is taking on issues from health care to the Cap and Trade proposal.
By visiting all of the counties Graves represents, he has been able to hear the voice of people like Virginia Wigham, a local political activist.
“I have never been more disappointed in the democratic party,” Wigham said. “They took impressionable minds at the high school and college level and had students that didn’t study the issues vote for the democrats. They brought a bunch of sheep to the slaughter and now we are trying to clean it up.”
Wigham believes that students should vote on the issues rather than the party.
“If you read the 1220 pages in the senate version of this health care bill…they will have their answers,” Wigham said. “People have taken it apart page by page, by page, and said what was wrong with it.”
From the moment that the bill was purposed, Graves and his staff have been analyzing HR 3200 and have come to a single conclusion.
“It’s more intrusion into our lives,” Graves said. “I don’t want our federal government runing 20 percent of the economy through the health care system.”
Even though Graves believes that HR 3200 would be counter-productive, he does not deny the problems with the current overpriced health care system in the United States.
“First of all, some of the health insurance reforms that need to in place: portability and pre-existing condition, making sure that people aren’t prevented if they have a pre-existing condition and, if you move to another job, being able to take that insurance with you.”
Proponents of the HR 3200 bill have worked none-stop to pass the health care reform as quickly as possible. Graves believes that taking the issues to the streets and visiting his constituents is the best way to represent his people.
“I know some [congressmen] aren’t doing any town halls because they don’t want to hear it from their folks, but some members are doing a lot,” Graves said.
Representative Graves finished his tour on Thursday, Aug. 27, stopping at Albany, Grant City, Maryville and Mound City.