Meehan addresses issues at town hall meeting

April 21, 2011

RADNOR — Before U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan began a town hall meeting on Wednesday, he asked everyone to say a little prayer for his colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded during her own public event in Arizona a few months ago. Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, said it was important to meet with constituents similar to the way Giffords did. Jared Loughner reportedly shot Giffords, a Democratic congresswoman, during an event outside of supermarket in Tucson, Ariz., in January. After thanking local police officers for their presence at his event, Meehan answered questions from residents during the hourlong session at the Radnor Township Municipal Building. About 20 residents attended the session, which was one of five that Meehan conducted in the 7th District Wednesday. One woman raised concerns about immigrants, and suggested English be mandated as a national language. Meehan said immigrants need to be better accounted for in some way. But he added that immigrants can make positive contributions to this country. “We can’t look at immigration as a dirty word,” he said. Another man asked Meehan about his stance on the budget blueprint proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee. Meehan said Ryan’s proposal deals with debt. He said about $3.8 trillion is spent every year with $2.2 trillion in revenue, leaving a $1.6 trillion deficit. “We spend 40 percent more than we bring in,” he said. “We are spending money we simply don’t have. That debt is going to fall on the backs of our children.” Meehan said Ryan’s budget also looks at the so-called entitlement programs, such as Medicare. “It’s very important to make this point. The Ryan budget — first and foremost — keeps the commitment we have made to America’s seniors,” Meehan said. “Those that are 55 and older — if you like the plans that you are in … if you like the Medicare that you are in — it doesn’t change. It’s important to bring that out because there has been a lot of demagoguery since (Ryan) has brought it out.”

After the meeting, some residents expressed frustration with answers they received from Meehan, but others said they were satisfied. Radnor resident Kathy Bogosian said she knew Meehan wouldn’t have all the answers to her questions, but wanted him to be aware of some issues she had with Medicare. Frank Tait, another Radnor resident, said the U.S. “has an addiction to spending.” He said cuts to a substantial amount of redundant government programs would go a long way.