by Jo Anne Busing
Congressman Cory Gardner held a town hall meeting on President's Day at the Washington County Event Center. Although the crowd was small, Gardner talked about his first month and a half in office. Gardner was sworn in as Congressman on January 6 and as he said, "We hit the ground running."
There are four regional offices in Colorado for Gardner. The offices are in Sterling, run by Alan Foutz, Lamar, Greeley and Fort Collins. Mike Bennett is District Officer for Gardner and has been involved in government for a long time.
"If anyone ever has a question about anything, please call Alan or you can always reach me on Facebook," Gardner said. "I also use Twitter to keep people informed."
Gardner has been appointed to the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as to three subcommittees under that committee. One of the subcommittees he is on is Oversight and Investigation Committee, which keeps tab on how the money appropriated is spent and where it goes. Gardner said he spoke on the floor for the first time on January 6 on cutting Congressional spending. Gardner has co-sponsored two bills: one to balance the budget and the other to cut spending by the Congress. He has also worked to have a balanced budget amendment for the federal government, as right now the federal government doesn't need to have a balanced budget.
"We have a $14 trillion debt and we need to get our spending under control," Gardner emphasized.
Other bills Congress has passed, although they haven't gone through the Senate yet, are to have every bill cite on where in the Constitution the bill will fall and for a bill to be on the floor for at least 72 hours before it is voted on. This will give lawmakers the time to thoroughly read and understand each bill before they vote on it. One other thing Gardner supports is to start a small business savings account, where small businesses could put money in an account and let it grow until they need it. They would then have no taxes applied once they took the money out of the account.
Gardner said the government's priority should be stopping spending and get budget under control. One of the resolutions from Congress is the continuing resolution which deals with government's spending today. The budget will deal with future spending and the debt limit deals with past spending. Gardner said it has been reported by people not involved in government that the healthcare bill will not reduce spending or improve the quality of healthcare and "these are two things that we must do." Congress has proposed cutting $100 billion dollars from the President's budget, and he will continue to support efforts to cut the budget.
Gardner then opened the meeting up for questions and comments. One of the questions asked is whether he would continue to stand on what he has told the voters or if he would let himself be "bought" by big companies, lobbyists or anyone else. Gardner said he "will remain principled" and stand for what he believes.
Gardner has met with the director of the EPA and said we need to change their way of thinking. He was talking with her about the Cap and Trade bill and she said it would have no effect on the economy. When asked why she believed that, she replied, "Everyone knows the rural communities are better off economically and can afford the costs involved." Gardner said we need to change that way of thinking, but that agriculture also has to do a better job of explaining how they produce food and what is involved.
To end the meeting, Gardner said, "Both parties need to work together to fix the many problems this country faces. We have allowed the executive to have too many powers and have done nothing to curb that. This means both lawmakers and the public have to work to try and fix the problems. This is a great country and we don't want to have our children and grandchildren pay for what we have done. We need to cut our spending and bring the budget back into a reasonable state for future generations."