Saturday, December 03, 2005

Report: Coffee and Conversation with Congresswoman Jean Schmidt

(Jean Schmidt talks with Mayor James D. Smith of South Lebanon before the meeting starts)

Both BizzyBlog and Porkoplis were present for the Town Hall Meeting.

This post will concentrate on new items covered by Congresswoman Schmidt. The reader is referred to 'Report from Jean Schmidt's Town Hall Meeting ' for a post that covers many of the same introductory issues Jean covers before taking questions from the audience.
Jean during Meeting:

The meeting in South Lebanon was well attended with a cross-section of Ms. Schmidt's constituents, though turn out wasn't as large as the Madeira meeting. It was hartening to see several, self-described, AP students from Little Miami High School participating in one of the foundations of our democracy: a representative meeting and taking feedback from her constituents.

Schmidt noted that this was her 90th day as a Congresswoman and that she would be participating in the Christmas Parade in Lebanon later in the day.

She offered the audience a bit of a backgrounder on herself: Township Trustee, 4 years as State Legislator, ran for (and lost by 22 votes) for a position as State Senator, was the only woman in the Republican primary and then won in the general election against Hackett.)

She noted, again, that she's on the Transportation, Agriculture and Government Reform Committees. One of her motivating factors to get on the Transportation Committee was as a result of her early work, even before being sworn in, on the chemical spill in Cincinnati.

Legislation she's personally working on or following:

  • H.R. 4128: To protect private property rights (Eminent Domain protections at the federal level)
  • H.R. 3132: To make improvements to the national sex offender registration program, and for other purposes.
  • H. Con. Res. 285 (Introduced by Schmidt): Expressing the sense of the Congress that the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama should adopt comprehensive, modern, and uniform statewide building codes.
  • H.R.4180 (Introduced by Schmidt): To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require communications which consist of prerecorded telephone calls to meet the disclosure and disclaimer requirements applicable to general public campaign communications transmitted through radio, and for other purposes.
The last issue is personal for Ms. Schmidt. A group calling itself "We the People" was apparently making pre-recorded calls into the District without properly identifying itself. Ms. Schmidt claims the organization changed to caller-id number on the phone calls to make it look as if the calls were originating from her Cincinnati office.

One memorable quote from the introduction:

"The deficit is a problem...We don't have a deficit because government is taxing the people to enough. We have a deficit because we spend to much."

Coverage of the Audience Questions unique to this meeting:

First question was from a woman very concerned about all the pork barrel put into bill and passed into laws. (Ok...folks reading this are going to think the Porkopolis fed her the question...but BizzyBlog was there to witness that this was a totally self-initiated question by the woman...honest :) )

Congresswoman Schmidt expressed disappointment with the siutation, but didn't offer any solutions. Paraphrasing her, "Until we get enough Congressmen on both sides of the aisle against it, it's not going to change"

An audience member asked her to clarify her remarks on the Congressman Murtha/"Cut and Run" bruhaha.

Schmidt asked that everyone take her remarks, which she subsequently apologized for, in the following context:

  • She did not know that Murtha was a Marine (See BizzyBlog's post ( Cleaning Up Some of the Schm…. er, Clutter) on this...Bizzy may be posting an update on watch his site).
  • She had an emotional-filled day the previous day at a Marine's funeral in Arlington Cemetery (see: Iraq War debate/ "coward" controversy at Jean Schmidt's Wikipedia entry).
  • The Republican congressional caucus felt strongly that they could not go into the Thanksgiving Day holiday with Murtha's pull-out now sentiment being the final word from the Congress.
  • A decision was made to put Murtha's sentiment for a pull-out into a resolution so that everyone could be on record on where they stood on the issue.
A question was asked about federal meddling in private health insurance. Apparently, this individual was being penalized for participating in a Health Savings Account (HSA) because his spouse was also insured.

Ms. Schmidt said she would follow up on the issue. (After the meeting, Porkopolis asked the individual to forward the general details of the situation. If forwarded, the details will be posted here as well).

BizzyBlog asked Congresswoman Schmidt if she supported 'Credit Freeze' legislation. Schmidt noted that she wasn't familar with the legislation but generally supported the principal.

All in all, kudos to Schmidt for continuing in her series of outreach with her constituents.

(Picture of Congresswoman Schmidt during her opening remarks)


Anonymous Eric Kephas said...

Excellent report. Glad you were able to make it.

December 4, 2005 at 4:16 PM  

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