March 18 09:50 PM
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Seeking info on proposed health care reform is not easy

To the Editor:

Last week I called my congressional representatives to find out information about the health care issue facing us today.

I first called Representative Candice Miller. I asked the person answering the phone two questions; 1) Is Rep. Miller planning a town hall and 2) what was her stance on the health care issue. The person answering the phone said she was not planning a town hall and that she was against the bills as currently drafted in Congress. The person then asked my name, phone number and stance on the issue. When I asked why they needed the information they said that they were tallying the calls to keep track of constituents' wishes.

Next, I called Senator Debbie Stabenow and asked the same questions. I was told that 1) she was not planning a town hall and 2) the Senator did not have a stance on health care because the bills were, as yet, unfinished. Sen. Stabenow's office was not interested in my name, phone number or my stance on the issue.

One day later, I read in the news that Sen. Stabenow was in favor of the reform. Two days later, I received a call back on my answering machine from Rep. Miller who had called to ask if I had had any further questions. Four days later, I saw on the Lansing news that Sen. Stabenow had held a town hall meeting.

Quite a contrast; don't you think? One is interested in my opinion (to the point of taking time to return my call) while the other lied to me. I later found out that the town hall that Sen. Stabenow held was not open to the public, but was invite only. Why wasn't I extended an invite? I at least called. Who was on this exclusive list? I also found out that even the press was not allowed into the gathering until the last 10 minutes of the meeting. This is not a town hall; it's a mutual admiration society.

Clearly, Michigan deserves better representation in Washington.

Editor's note: An email sent earlier this month via Sen. Stabenow's Web site seeking a response has gone unanswered as of this publication date.

John J. Kowalski, Emmett
August 26, 2009

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