Comer brings Washington news to Albany for Town Hall meeting

Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:08 am


U.S. Representative James Comer spoke to one of the largest town hall gatherings ever assembled in the Clinton County Courthouse last Thursday afternoon, giving a brief overview of a host of current topics that are in the headlines on the national political scene.

Speaking for over an hour to more than 50 people who had gathered in the upstairs courtroom, Comer (R-Tompkinsville) also fielded several questions from a few constituents and pledged to stay in the courtroom until everyone’s concerns had been heard.

The first term U.S. Congressman was elected to the seat in a special election after long-time Representative Ed Whitfield announced last year that he was leaving office.

Whitfield actually resigned and left office before the end of his term and Comer also won a special election that placed him in the seat prior to the end of the President Obama era.

That situation, the representative said Thursday, gave him a chance to see first hand the difference in attitudes in Washington in regards to the two administrations.

“I got to spend two months in Washington with Obama in the Oval Office and now five months with Trump in office, and let me tell you, it’s a different feel now in Washington,” he said.

Comer explained that under the Trump administration, he felt that there was a more positive attitude among lawmakers as to the hopes of seeing job numbers grow and positive developments in regards to the nation’s business community.

He added that he thought when the time came, changes to the tax code would also be dealt with positively in regards to business and the nation’s economy.

Comer briefly summarized a host of issues that have made headlines in recent weeks, including the recent firing by Trump of James Comey, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

“My impression of Comey is that he was very arrogant and very patronizing – to me there are certain offices and divisions in the government that you shouldn’t be reading about every day, and the FBI Director is one of those. Because of that, in Congress, both parties had lost confidence in James Comey,” Comer said. “I think the President did the right thing in wanting to start all over and bring in someone to restore our confidence in the FBI.”

Another area that Comer said needed to be addressed soon was one of national security, and in particular cyber-security.

“There is no question that Russia got involved in our election, and that’s a bad thing, “Comer said. “When you look at our national security we should be very proud of our military, we in the United States have the most superior military and there is no question about that.”

He added, however, that the nation needed to do some serious work on cyber related areas of national security in order to prevent situations such as election hacking by foreign countries from ever happening again.

Another area that Comer said would be addressed in the coming months was in regard to the nation’s failing infrastructure – roads, bridges, waterways, etc.

“They want to propose a $1 trillion infrastructure bill – think about that, that’s a lot of money,” Comer said. “I’m going to do everything I can to see that our district is well represented in that area because we have infrastructure needs too. Our district has roads and bridges, waterways, locks and dams that have issues.”

Comer also said that while reforming the current tax code was an area of high concern for both branches of government, he felt it wouldn’t be addressed until more successful measures had been completed in regards to the health care situation.

As for health care reform, the Congressman reminded those attending that while the House passed a health care reform bill recently, the issue was far from being over and a long, long way yet from being a new law.

Explaining the process that a new bill such as health care reform bill must go through, Comer said that at best, the issue had just taken the first of many steps that would be needed to be completed.

“We’re just 25 percent of the way there now, and we are a long way away from reforming health care,” Comer explained. “We have a long journey yet to go. Health Care is the number one issue in America right now, but it’s a very complicated issue.”

He said that the health care problem was the most severe in rural areas like most of the counties in this 1st Congressional District that includes Clinton County.

Of the 35 counties in the district, 31 have only one insurance carrier – Anthem – and that company has said they are pulling out of rural areas in a couple of years and won’t be writing any policies for those residents.

“Because the population in these counties is growing older and younger people are leaving and not coming back, the population is aging and by and large, reaching the higher risk group as far as insurance business is concerned,” Comer said.

He added that the rising cost of premiums – which he described as “skyrocketing and out of control”, combined with other factors such as the abuse of the Medicaid program, were all going to have to be addressed and corrected before an answer could be reached.

“We have to design a system that will entice carriers to write policies whether it be across state lines or not.,” Comer said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, while protecting people with preexisting conditions. Health care is the most important thing that we have.”

U.S. Congressman James Comer, far right, spoke to one of many of his constituents who were on hand for a Town Hall meeting held last Thursday in the Clinton County Courthouse. The first-term congressman gave an overview of the issues he has dealt with during his first seven months in Washington, D.C., representing the residents of Clinton County and the rest of the 35 county 1st Congressional District.