Ridgecrest United bring concerns to McCarthy reps

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Ridgecrest United, the grassroots group that organized the local Women’s March in January, brought their concerns relating to federal governance to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s staff during their monthly visit to Ridgecrest earlier this week.

During the 90-minute session, some 30 residents expressed opposition to policies — many of which have garnered McCarthy’s endorsement — coming out of Donald Trump’s administration.

Objections were also raised about the president’s casual treatment of facts, seemingly careless outbursts on social media and failure to provide his personal financial statements. (Incidentally, information leaked later that day reported that Trump earned $153 million in 2005, and that he paid $38 million in federal taxes.)

Many concerns hinged on a general distrust of President Trump, and the apparent closeness between he and McCarthy. Attendees of the meeting urged staffers to remind the congressman that he represents his constituents, not the administration.

Keenan Hochschild and Cole Karr candidly responded that they represented McCarthy, not Trump, and could not account for the president’s actions. They added that the congressman has privately urged the president to back up any claims with evidence to support them.

Among the prevailing issues of discussion are concerns that the GOP’s proposed changes to health care and education could pave the way for two-tiered systems, leaving the most poor and vulnerable citizens without an equitable level of access to services.

Participants also pointed to the toll the Department of Defense hiring freeze has had on operations at China Lake, resulting in a negative economic impact as well as an apparent impediment to local contributions to national security.

Several weeks ago, McCarthy sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis (news-ridgecrest. com/news/story.pl?id=0000006720), urging him to exempt China Lake from the freeze.

Hochschild and Karr said that McCarthy and his staff have continued to engage Mattis, and hope to be able to report positive news in the coming weeks.

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital CEO Jim Suver published a guest editorial (news-ridgecrest.com/ news/story.pl?id=0000006619) about the potentially harmful impacts proposed reforms will have on local health care. Hochschild told the News Review that McCarthy’s staff has reached out to Suver to address anticipated threats to local health care — including those relating to access and local control.

The News Review will continue reporting on developments of the DOD hiring freeze and health care reforms as they become available.

Attendees also requested McCarthy to come to Ridgecrest. Hochschild said that McCarthy has made several recent public appearances in Ridgecrest, and invited anyone interested in hosting a local meeting to contact their scheduler, Chris Duncan, at 661-327-3611.

Story First Published: 2017-03-17