Should anyone think that the age of the audience might influence the
depth of questions, think again. They wanted to know about the war
in Iraq, if the congressman had been there to see it (he had), if
the U.S. military should continue to be there, and if so, how long?
He said that people are war-fatigued. You pick up the paper or
listen to the 5:30 news and you see how many were killed or about
the costs, he said. But you don't get to see the whole picture. In
Iraq there are 16 provinces the size of Lincoln that are doing well.
The problems are in Baghdad, he said.
"Are we making progress? Yes," he said, "Kids are in school now,
businesses are open, mosques and synagogues are open, hospitals are
open. A lot of people are living peaceful lives."
He was asked his thoughts about Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton
running for president. "Is it time for a woman president? Nobody
really knows," he said. Of both candidates, he said that they have
ideas that resonate with people.
The congressman explained that he does not get too tangled up
with what's going on in Washington. Rather, his focus is on paying
attention to his district's needs, seeing that local officials are
heard when their communities have needs. Such as when Lincoln Mayor
Beth Davis calls from Lincoln and says we need help with the water
district, he said.
Roads and communications are also important. Most recently he
secured funds for the Logan County 911 telecommunications
improvements that are in progress. He also attained funds toward the
Fifth Street Road project for Lincoln and Logan County.
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He is pleased that locally we are providing good health care to
those in need and to our veterans. In our district, we have three
clinics for veterans and a new health care clinic in Peoria that
serves people without insurance, he said. He's also proud that the
U.S. has a new $40 million, state-of-the-art rehabilitation veterans
hospital in San Antonio, Texas, that can help soldiers who have lost
Good education and taking care of our senior citizens also enter
his pursuits for the district.
When asked about his job, he said, "The best part of being a
congressman is what I'm doing here this morning. There are a lot of
big issues to talk to you about, and there is not just one side,
there are many sides."
His responses to some other questions:
Prayer -- I believe
in prayer. I pray every day.
Iraq -- We're going
to be there for a while.
Bears -- I'm a Bears
He was presented a key chain by the student council and blueberry
muffins that a student baked herself.
In conclusion to the session, he charged the students, "Before
any of you leave today, thank your teachers for what they do for all