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3/16/2012 10:00:00 PM
Gosar and N.M. congressman hold town hall to discuss jobs, energy
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily CourierCongressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar answer questions at a town hall on the subject of jobs and energy Thursday night at the Prescott Resort.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar answer questions at a town hall on the subject of jobs and energy Thursday night at the Prescott Resort.
'Obamacare' complaints also a topic at town hall
PRESCOTT - Two citizens at Thursday's town hall complained about "Obamacare," the Affordable Health Care Act. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just doubled its cost estimate of the healthcare plan. "We're in equally bad shape as Greece, Ireland," Pearce said. However, the CBO website states that it actually lowered the estimated net cost of the law's insurance coverage provisions by $50 billion this month compared to a year ago. "The system is failing," said U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Flagstaff. "We need to do something different." Gosar said tort reform is one way to help reduce healthcare costs. He said he's even been talking to his "nemesis," AARP, about his ideas. "Paul Ryan offered a great plan," Gosar said. "I'm tired of seeing him victimized." Rep. Ryan's latest plan would give citizens on Medicare, Medicaid and private business health plans a set amount of money to buy individual health care insurance. Individuals would have to cover the difference if costs exceeded tax credits. "At its core, the healthcare problem is one of inflation, driven by the over-utilization of services, dramatic underpayments and massive inefficiency," Ryan said in a speech last year.

Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - The topic of a town hall with Congressmen Paul Gosar and Steve Pearce in Prescott Thursday evening was energy and jobs, but most of the people in the audience wanted to discuss other subjects.

Only four of the 18 questions the congressmen fielded during the two-hour town hall at the Prescott Resort included energy as the topic.

Some of the others focused on timely topics such as new estimates on the cost of the Affordable Health Care Act and a huge transportation bill that Congress must approve by March 31 to keep more than 100,000 transportation construction projects in motion.

Pearce said he chairs the Congressional Western Caucus because the Obama administration has hurt agriculture, mining and timber jobs.

Pearce said he met residents of Arizona's White Mountains during last year's record Wallow fire and they were "victimized by a process that hasn't allowed us to be part of forest restoration." Pearce has supported efforts by Otero County in New Mexico to clear trees on the Lincoln National Forest without Forest Service authorization, saying the U.S. Constitution gives the county that authority.

The Obama administration will kill three million more jobs this year if new regulations aren't halted, Pearce asserted.

The natural gas industry in his district doesn't need subsidies, it just needs government off its back, Pearce added.

Gosar touted his land exchange bill to allow a foreign joint venture called Resolution Copper to open a huge copper mine in southeast Arizona. It got through the Republican-dominated House but not the Senate. The mine company says it will employ about 1,400 people. Opponents decry the destruction of the popular Oak Flat Campground and Arizona's Indian tribes oppose the loss of Apache Leap.

Unfortunately, Gosar said, that copper would have to go to a Mexican smelter because Arizona's two copper smelters are near capacity, and only three copper smelters remain in the U.S.

Ed Fuller of Prescott, a past president of the American Nuclear Society, accused the Obama administration of lacking an energy policy, calling for nuclear power plants to be the centerpiece of such a policy. Obama released what he called a "Comprehensive Strategy for Energy Security" two years ago.

Pearce said he agreed with Fuller. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife's decision to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered is threatening oil jobs in southeast New Mexico where he grew up, Pearce added.

One person in the audience asked if government officials are trying to increase the wind and solar industries in Arizona.

While those industries have large government subsidies, the wind and sun don't blow and shine all day so they need backup energy sources, Pearce said.

"You wouldn't want to run your house on solar, because it's not always there," Pearce said.

Gosar touted Rep. Scott Tipton's hydropower bill that he co-sponsored with four others. H.R. 2842 allows the construction of small hydropower facilities on existing canals and ditches without the usual environmental reviews.

Only once during the town hall did Gosar and Pearce clearly disagree. Pearce said he opposed automatic budget cuts of $1.2 trillion to the federal budget after a joint congressional committee couldn't come up with a budget plan late last year, while Gosar said he supported them.

Gosar said he thought the committee would get the job done. He noted that the national debt surpassed the GDP earlier this year.

"We're playing with funny money, folks," he said.

"Our entire currency could collapse if we're not very careful," Pearce added later.

The Prescott and Prescott Valley chambers hosted the town hall. Gosar and Pearce joined other Congressional Western Caucus members from Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer at another caucus hearing Friday called "Washington barriers to prosperity and property rights in Arizona."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Article comment by: Long term effects of NO2 not so funny anymore

judging by Gosar's positions.

Just saying...

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Talk Conservative Act Fascist

When the conservative figure out that their brand has been hijacked by the billionaires and their corporations thru ALEC influence peddling, look out ! They will be a force for positive change and no longer the suckers for populist conservative appeals that begets and beggars corporatism (fascism). However, these guys trying to straight face that it's all about removing Obama and budget priorities, when they are marketing special interest legislation to serve corporate profit at the public expense, it would be pink bunny hat crazy to believe anything they are pimping.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Truth Please

It is obvious that none of the poster's were at the town Hall meeting. I was and I think that both Sen Pierce and Rep Gosar did an excellent job of explaining things.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Newt Romney

Why in the world would a N.M. official waste my tax dollars coming here I'll bet the local tea party was there - you know, the tea party that won't endorse candidates.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Real Elderly Voter

I am an elderly voter and will vote for the person who will solve the hard problems to protect this great nation from economic ruin. Status Quo is not an option. Everyone across the spectrum will need to sacrifice to solve this issue. The current policy of pitting one group against the other, using greed and envy is hurting our country, not helping.

If you are a real independent voter, you would realize the Democratic commercial portraying Ryan throwing Grandma over the cliff is not accurate. Ryan put forth hard proposals for discussion, and for his efforts he is demonized. No where in his proposal are folks over 55 affected. Hard decisions lie ahead, and if Gosar is willing to make hard decisions, he has my vote.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Just Saying

I am an independent voter. always have been always will be. We independents and non aligned are the largest bloc around, yet we get little recognition or consideration.
I know how November will turn out. Not one Republican I have met has suggested that they have any reasonable chance of winning in November. No Republican will bet me $10,000 Mitt bucks that their candidate can unseat President Obama. What does that tell you?
This of course is in a rather Red area of the state.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Let's try truth for once

I wonder why Gosar or Pearce never tell the people about the extra 17o/o the health insurance companies have been getting since the inception of Medicare. That's right folks 17o/o. It was supposed to be a one time extra money to help the insurances companies set up to pay for the Medicare claims.

Can you imagine what 17%of our money that was meant to pay for health care is? This 17% is huge and it is going to be used to help pay for Obama care. Not a gift to the insurance companies!

Also the new health care act mandates that 85% of health insurance premiums must be used for health care.

The politicians health care buddies do not want to have to lower their millions of dollars a year in bonus money so they get guys like Gosar and Pearce to cry for them.

And there are a lot of people that just hang on every miss-truth they hear. If the entire country is a blind and spoon fed information as last nights group, all I can add is God Help America.

Just keep on letting these two see how uninformed you are and vote them in again and you see your mistakes. Surely our Republican Party can do better then this!

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: open book

Selling out our environment, resources, and future for short-term popularity. Think up a good long-term and sustainable plan, and I'll support it.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Disgusted Time for a change!

Touch Medicare and you're out! Guaranteed. Why don't you start thinking about the taxpayers and what is good for the USA and less about how to beat Obama? The Republican candidates are just digging a hole for themselves. All they preach is who can beat Obama, not what do we need to do to get the USA back on track. Disgusting.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Clearly the comments from congressmen as chosen to reflect their position and opinion. The actions of the Democrats in Congress and the presidents policies are wrong for an American recovery with any long lasting value. Anyone who believes in the Obama energy plan is as ignorant as a box of rocks. It's time to really clean the barn November 6th.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: I read this Gosar/Steve Pearce article and one thing comes to mind.

The blind leading the blind.

Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Article comment by: Independant Voter

Voting data show that the elderly go to the polls in greater numbers than any other group, and you want to light em up in a presidential election year. Keep siding with Ryan, Gosar, you're a one-termer.

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