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Fri, Nov. 22

First 'House call': Rep. Gosar draws large crowd to town hall meeting

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>
Congressman Paul Gosar answers questions from the audience Monday night during a town hall meeting at Prescott City Hall.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br> Congressman Paul Gosar answers questions from the audience Monday night during a town hall meeting at Prescott City Hall.

PRESCOTT - U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar fielded more than 30 questions Monday evening from a packed Prescott audience that was clearly charged up by the freshman group of conservative Republicans that have taken their seats in the House of Representatives.

The crowd charged Gosar, too, as he repeatedly urged them to stay involved in politics and help him with ideas.

"Hold us accountable," he said.

"If you're not at the table, you're going to be served at the table," he added.

He said he will soon unveil an "Idea Ranch" on his website where constituents can dialogue with his staff members and comment on various ideas.

Dozens of people were unable to fit into the 120-seat Prescott City Council chambers where the Flagstaff dentist conducted his first "House call," as he phrased it, after conservatives helped him oust Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick in November and take office in January.

"It's been a wild and crazy three weeks," he told the crowd.

Gosar brought along many of his staff members and introduced nine of them to his district's citizens before fielding questions about everything from government spending to immigration to health care.

He repeatedly stressed that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on which he serves will be asking government "bureaucrats" to defend their policies, in an effort to help reduce regulations. All bills need a sunset clause, he added.

Gosar voiced support for reducing the capital gains tax as one way to help the economy.

He wants the remainder of the stimulus money to go back into paying off the national debt.

About the only government spending that people in the audience voiced support for was Social Security. Two retired men noted that they paid into Social Security for years, and they wanted their money's worth back.

Gosar said currently retired people will be protected from Social Security cuts.

"But for future generations, we're going to have to be more creative," he said. He didn't elaborate later on what ages could be affected, but said the government should reward people who keep working past retirement age.

Gosar said the House's 5 percent budget cut translated into a nearly $300,000 cut for his office, which is making it challenging to serve the huge 1st Congressional District that is larger than Pennsylvania.

Gosar voiced support for more local control of the federal government. States and communities need the flexibility to develop the best health care programs for their citizens, he said.

"I'm tired of the federal government picking winners and losers," he said, such as President Obama's proposed energy subsidies.

Local resident Bob Stearns urged Gosar not to "drink the water" and stay on track to reduce the federal budget.

Gosar voted to repeal the 2010 health care legislation, saying it's fundamentally flawed. He supports tort reform, such as a limit on attorney's fees of 20 percent of a court monetary award.

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