Lehigh Valley

Rep. Matt Cartwright fields questions at Wilson Borough town hall meeting

WILSON, Pa. - Wilson Borough constituents of  U.S. House of Representative Matt Cartwright (D-17) were more interested Monday evening in asking the congressman for his take on the current goings-on at the White House rather than about how his influence in Washington can affect the near half of Northampton County he represents Monday evening at town hall meeting at Strausser Community Center. 

Approximately 70 residents from the greater Easton area including the city's mayor Sal Panto (D-Easton) furnished Cartwright with pre-written questions on topics ranging from the president's competency, national security, the press, environmental protection and health care reform. They also voiced their concerns about spending cuts affecting local Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) and Meals on Wheels recipients.

"Health care should not be a political issue, but rather a personal one," stated Cartwright.

He explained cuts to the Medicaid program could result in the closing of community hospitals, which he sees as valuable assets providing not only local medical care but also jobs.

The congressman said he believes in a bipartisan joint effort for healthcare reform and noted fellow Congressman Charlie Dent (R-16) feels the same about working together towards a common goal-- an affordable, sensible health insurance program.

Along with Dent who serves alongside him on the House Appropriations Committee, Cartwright said he believes the committee won't support the low-income heating assistance (LIHEAP), supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP), and education funding cuts proposed in the recent federal budget.

Cartwright also said he is a firm believer in clean air and water protections. He commented to vote against dramatic cuts in environmental protection agency (EPA) funding such as the proposed 31 percent reductions offered by the White House, but admitted his supporters may have to settle for more reasonable ten percent cuts.

"The best way to help yourself is to raise your voices because democracy works," Cartwright said.

In addition, Cartwright recommended that his constituents view more than one television news source and also consider reading an increased variety of books, periodicals, websites, and other information sources.

Finally, Cartwright said a real solution to the budget crisis is any possible federal spending cuts should be offset by ideas to increase revenues. He said this plan previously was used by former President Bill Clinton.


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