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Opinion

  • Last week, I held six “Tom in Your Town” events around the 5th District to hear my constituents’ questions and opinions about how we can solve the healthcare crisis in this country. Many people, including myself, worried that we were moving too quickly and spending too much to fix the problem, so I insisted that Congress spend the month of August sharing accurate information with the American people and listening to everyone’s concerns and hopes.

  • The United States of America is a nation of immigrants.  Legal immigration has blessed our nation with talent, diversity, and a commitment to freedom.  However, we are also a nation of laws and illegal immigration mocks these laws and our entire system of justice.

  • Since July 2007, this newspaper has graciously published a monthly article concerning benefits provided by the U.S.

  • As of this writing, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has not published the Environmental Impact Statement for the Smith Mountain Project.  The document is expected to be released during this month and the Tri-County Re-licensing Committee is standing by to review the document.  Remember that you can stay informed at the relicensingnews Web site.

  •     The fight over health care reform resembles its own kind of political campaign, as though there’s an election just down the road. The television airwaves are filled with competing commercials, just like the saturation of ads you see during a campaign.

  •     It was rather humorous to read Rick Howell’s column last week, blasting members of his own political party. A member of the “Democratic” Party, Mr. Howell usually directs his ire at Republicans.

        Although I’m not a political party member, and thus am free to antagonize everybody, I usually disparage “Democrats.”

  • The Cash for Clunkers program has highlighted several key points for all of us to remember. Consider this:

        • The public has taken full advantage of the opportunity to receive $4,500 for their old gas-guzzling vehicles from the government. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Most folks like “free” money and this taxpayer-supported program has provided a great opportunity to take advantage of that. In fact it has been so well utilized that the program has cashed out in its first week. That leads to the next point...

  • On healthcare

        To date, much has been said in the media by the representatives of both sides of the fence regarding proposed healthcare legislation. Hopefully serious debate will continue until citizens have a plan that serves better than the system currently in use.  The exception being, of course, the one Congress enjoys at tax payer expense.

  • As I return home from Congress for an extended work period in the district, I will be devoting most of my time to discussing health care reform with constituents and doctors. For weeks, I made clear to Congressional leaders that we should not rush a vote on health care. I have already met with over 150 doctors and medical professional in our district about health care, and each meeting produces better ideas for improving health care and reducing costs.

  • While we can all agree that our current health care system is flawed there are many different ideas about how to fix it.  Recently Democratic Leaders in Congress introduced the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act”, which sets the tone for a Washington takeover of the health care system.  While this misguided legislation simply offers more of what is wrong with the current system, House Republicans have offered commonsense reforms that will make health care more affordable, reduce the number of uninsured and increase quality.

  • As an educational outreach program of Virginia’s two land grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, the mission of Virginia Cooperative Extension is to assess the needs of our local communities and then develop educational programs to meet those needs. 

        One way to do this is by providing research-based information so that citizens can make well-informed decisions. As we continue our discussion on building financial success, let’s review what we discussed in the previous articles.

  • You’d expect conservative Republicans to stand in the way of meaningful health care reform. After all, they’ve been sharpening their rhetoric about “socialized medicine” for many decades.

        But when such actions come from those within the Democratic Party itself, the usual party of reform, well, you can bet there’s some money being spread out somewhere.

  •     While Congress wrangles over ObamaCare, my home phone has been ringing off the hook. Everybody has a short recorded message they want me to listen to. It’s almost as irritating as the bad old days before the Do Not Call list when I was constantly getting pestered by telemarketers. I’ve reverted back to my habit of not picking up the phone and just letting an answering machine take the call.

  • Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Barack Obama and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley may all soon sit down at the White House for a beer to discuss old times. It’s a shame that get-together didn’t occur before the President spouted off last week about the arrest of Gates, his long-time friend.

  • In the red

        Being a former Bedford County business teacher for 27 years, I don’t understand how Bedford County schools can be in the red $7,000 (Roanoke Times, July 17 - “Bedford board may scrap virtual school”). 

  • In the red

        Being a former Bedford County business teacher for 27 years, I don’t understand how Bedford County schools can be in the red $7,000 (Roanoke Times, July 17 - “Bedford board may scrap virtual school”). 

  • A well-educated workforce is critical for regaining America’s long-term competitive advantage. But the cost of paying for college and community college is becoming even more burdensome for Americans in this economy. While families are losing income and benefits, college tuition prices continue to rise. The average student now graduates with over $22,000 in total student debt, including federal and private student loans.

     

  • It is no secret that the American people are facing a very tough economic climate. Families and small businesses are cutting back on expenses.  As economic uncertainty continues, many across our nation are looking to the government for leadership during this difficult time.  In these challenging economic times it is even more important for government to control spending and enact fiscally responsible solutions that are actually likely to turn our economy around.

     

  •     My blessed mother reads the paper every week and always notices the hateful and snarling letters that are often aimed at your favorite liberal.

        “Did you see that awful letter?” she’ll ask. I usually haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll say, “Yeah, mom. It’s no big deal. It’s just the hot air you get from some people who can’t stand that somebody else disagrees with them.”

  • Last week I spent a pleasant evening at a Bedford County home talking with some teachers and students from Indonesia. The Indonesians are here under the auspices of Legacy International and the United States Department of State. The event I attended was a dinner for those who are staying with families in the Bedford area.