BETHLEHEM, Pa. - U.S. House of Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-17) said the most important thing he can do for his constituency is to secure as many federally funded dollars as possible in order that they be infused into the local economies of the communities he serves comprising Pennsylvania's 17th district.
Cartwright hosted a town hall meeting Tuesday evening in Northampton Community College's Alumni Hall filled to near capacity with nearly 100 mostly middle-aged and older Democratic supporters of the congressman. The constituency clamored for his views and answers on a number of political, social, and economic issues and questions facing not only the nation but Pennsylvanians living in the eastern Lehigh Valley including Bethlehem Township and Easton whom the congressman represents in Washington.
The politician specifically cited securing federal grant allocations to support local programs, initiatives, and infrastructure improvements. "The most success we can have about getting grants into the area, the better," he said.
Cartwright answered with a definite "no" when asked if he would support the dismantling of social security. He said a nearly 40 percent of those he serves north of the Lehigh Valley in towns like Pottsville rely on social security benefits as their primary income source.
Regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act replacement which recently failed in Congress, the legislator blamed Republican disagreement and infighting for the lack of action. However, he said he agreed with U.S. Sen. Charlie Dent (R-16) the repeal and replacement of Obama Care could not be rushed.
Additionally, he noted health insurance providers were not asked for their input on the attempted redrafting of the affordable health care act and remarked, "I saw a major problem with that."
Cartwright explained, "I can write bills until I'm blue in the face, however, you have to remember I'm now in the minority in Congress."
The politician said he supports the PennEast Pipeline project because it creates livable wage jobs and sees natural gas extraction and transportation as a sustainable energy source.
An alternative energy advocate, the congressman said he would spearhead any endeavor to locate and implement alternative energy resources especially if Democrats regain control of the House and/or Senate in the near future.
Cartwright supports using wind farms, turbines, and solar panels as clean energy sources that respect the environment.
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