To the Editor: Calls for Town Hall meeting

Today (March 14), two brave men from Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield showed up in Ridgecrest for their monthly meeting with District 23 constituents. Based on their encounter with a much smaller crowd in Ridgecrest a month ago, they doubtlessly assumed the discussions would be passionate and pointed today, and they weren’t disappointed. About 40-50 people gathered to air their opinions on matters pending in Washington, matters they rightly believe Kevin McCarthy should have an interest in resolving and explaining. And, of growing importance, more than half of today’s group was part of an organized effort, Ridgecrest United, to make their voices heard.

Many comments and concerns about the newly scored American Health Care Act were expressed in Ridgecrest today. This carefully controlled legislation, born in secrecy and rammed through at least two House committees in just a few short days, has scared the bejesus out of a large segment of Americans. The level of anxiety produced is palpable and may, by itself, cause health problems.

Two other issues also surfaced in today’s discussions. The first, only slightly less popular than hammering the AHCA, was the perceived reluctance (dare I say fear) of Rep. McCarthy to schedule real town hall meetings in his district. He totally dismissed that idea when he was in Bakersfield a couple weeks ago during the most recent vacation taken by Congress.

Now, however, there is yet another two-week “vacation” from Washington scheduled in mid-April that is euphemistically called District Work Week(s), a perfect time for a series of town hall meetings. It is early enough for Rep. McCarthy to actually schedule those meetings right now and to alert his constituents of the times and locations. All such meetings in Bakersfield should be held in the Rabobank Arena so that the many thousands of interested voters can participate. We will find a suitable venue in Ridgecrest for the event here. Call McCarthy’s Washington office (202-225-2915) to add your voice to the hundreds demanding real town hall meetings in mid-April.

The second issue of importance raised today arises from the apparent fear that Rep. McCarthy has of calling out President Trump on his outrageous lies. Two of these lies were mentioned a month ago at this regular meeting; the first is Trump’s claim that as many as 5,000,000 illegal votes were cast in last November’s general election. This particularly impugns election officials in Kern County and needs to be denounced by Mr. McCarthy as an outright lie. The second, the claim that thousands of illegals were bussed into New Hampshire to vote, also cries out to be denounced. While the list of Trump lies is long and growing, it would be a big step towards honest government if our representative Mr. McCarthy had sufficient courage to publicly call out these fabrications, these alternative facts, for what they are: lies.

David L. Burdick

Story First Published: 2017-03-17