By Greg Graham
Guest contributor, Huron Rotary member
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell held an open forum on Tuesday, March 29 with Rotarians, local veterans groups, and members of local government.
She began by stating that despite the discord in Washington, the issues that hold the Michigan delegation together outweigh the national politics that drive Republicans and Democrats apart. When asked for her opinion on why the U.S. House and Senate had gotten so dysfunctional, she replied that the legislature is a reflection of the people who elect it, and that perhaps it is the result of society in general becoming less civil.
The Flint water crisis was touched upon, and she made two points. The first was that there was a breakdown of watchdog agencies at both the state and the national level, and that those issues have been addressed in Congress. The EPA now must intervene in local water crises. The second point was that aging infrastructure across the country practically guarantees that there will be additional crises as overused and undermaintained systems fail. The current state of the roads throughout Michigan are an excellent example.
She also talked about issues affecting quality of life. She is aghast at the ruinous price increases that drug companies are now affixing to maintenance medications like insulin and Epi pens. She is personally experiencing the frustration of the consumer as she navigates through the Medicare bureaucracy dealing with her husband’s health issues, and is wary of movements in Congress to curtail Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Finally, she addressed the Trans Pacific Partnership. The automotive industry is aligning against it. She talked about the disquieting trend that every time a trade pact like NAFTA or others are signed, it results in massive job loss within the auto industry. She will not be happy with the TPP until issues like currency parity are addressed.
She ended by thanking us for giving her time to speak and complimented Rotarians for their service to the local community.
For more information about the Huron Township Rotary visit www.hurontownshiprotary.org.