Fosters - Jeb Bradley on Tour on Road Back to Congress
By AARON SANBORN
Former U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley is hoping the road back to Congress begins at local coffee stops.
By stopping at these small places and speaking with residents, Bradley says he can begin to understand what's on residents' minds as he attempts to retake his First District seat from Carol Shea-Porter, to whom he lost in 2006.
Bradley's first opportunity to meet with residents in this setting came Friday morning as he kicked off his "Java with Jeb" campaign initiative at Harvey's Bakery. Bradley spoke individually with residents and many had a lot to say.
However, throughout all the conversations, three issues kept coming up: the economy, national security and veteran affairs.
Robert Gemler, a Navy veteran, expressed concern about New Hampshire not having a veteran's hospital and believes Bradley is the person to fix this problem. He noted Bradley's involvement in fighting for veterans benefits while in Congress.
"They downgraded the one (hospital) in Manchester to a clinic," Gemler said. "It's disgusting; it's demoralizing. I believe given an opportunity to get back in Congress, Mr. Bradley will work to get on that (veteran's) committee."
As he often does in the city he represents, Ward 3 City Councilor David Scott expressed concern over taxes and said Bradley can keep taxes downs.
"He's voted against tax increases, so he appeals to my prudent nature," Scott said.
Bradley said given the tough economic times, he expected the economy would be a hot topic at the gathering and said it will remain so both in the upcoming congressional and presidential races.
"It's literally on everyone's mind," Bradley said. "The wrong answer is to raise taxes, which is what this Congress is doing right now, repeatedly."
Scott also said Bradley favors the presence of troops in the Middle East.
"He recognizes the importance of our presence in the Middle East. As much as it's a controversial area, I think we need to maintain our position there."
Dover residents Eileen Williams and Erol Yuctseven both expressed concern over illegal immigration and said the country won't be secure from terrorism until the borders are secure.
"These are all things I have a very strong record on," Bradley said. "I support decreasing taxes, strong borders and making sure our troops and veterans are taken care of."
Bradley also recognized Harold Page, the chaplain for the Pease Greeters, who will be going to Washington, D.C., with five others Monday to be recognized for their work in greeting service men and women as they pass through Pease.
During the visit, the group will visit the Walter Reed Medical Center, home to many injured soldiers.
"I hope I can handle Walter Reed," said Page, who is a Korean War veteran from Dover.
"The people there have come close to paying the ultimate price for their country, but still they're so optimistic," Bradley responded.
Bradley said he plans on holding several more "Java with Jeb" sessions around the area.
"I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of them," he said. "I felt it was important when I was doing the job to be accessible. Through access you have accountability."