Fourth Congressional District Congressman Tom McClintock spoke to a sparse turn-out at his 90-minute April 23 town hall meeting at Oakhurst Elementary School.
Congressman McClintock's opening remarks contained a brief overview of immediate concerns, with "Obama Care" the number one subject. McClintock described the system as "a government takeover of one-sixth of our economy." He said America had enjoyed "the finest health care system in the world the most affordable and accessible and advanced" and that this "has been turned upside down."
As an alternative to The Affordable Care Act, later repeated in a more extended explanation, he called for better options allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, encouraging the growth of health savings accounts, providing employees rather than employers with health insurance tax breaks, legislation addressing much needed reforms in the area of medical malpractice, the availability of high risk pools to answer the issue of exclusion due to pre-existing conditions, and permitting insurance companies to write contracts excluding specific conditions, such as bursitis, which is not currently allowed by law.
The next issue addressed was the California drought.
"Droughts are nature's fault ... the water shortage is our fault," McClintock said.
Pointing out that the Sacramento River flows with significantly more volume than the Colorado, he feels investment in more storage is critical in long term planning, taking particular note of 250,000 acres of farmland lost in California for the "amusement" of the Delta smelt. He is specifically opposed to the twin tunnel water project being currently proposed by Governor Jerry Brown.
McClintock also discussed the overall economy, citing an increase in the Federal debt of $7 trillion since Barack Obama took office, lingering job opportunities and increasing worries about our future status as a leading economic power. McClintock said he supports a much more responsible fiscal policy than practiced by the current administration, less corporate taxes and much less regulation of free enterprise.
After the Congressman opened the floor for questions, Ron Sullivan of Oakhurst inquired as to why more was not being done with desalinization for fresh water, as has proven valuable elsewhere. McClintock said that while this was true for such nations as Israel and Aruba, such would be far too costly here.
Ellie Schermerhorn of Ahwahnee, addressed McClintock about the government shut-down.
"How can you justify your vote to shut-down the government and face your constituents here, knowing that we have businesses that no longer exist? Their employees were let go and they shut-down because of votes like yours that closed Yosemite? The whole Sierra region exists on the National Parks and you closed them down for nothing," said Schermerhorn.
"I didn't vote to close them down I voted to keep them open" McClintock instantly exclaimed.
As discussion continued, McClintock did allow that those times the House sent proposals keeping the government open to the Senate, the legislation also included a key provision to "delay the implementation of Obama Care for a year." He added that such a delay has now pretty much been implemented by the president.
This provoked cries of "give me a break," " that's absurd" and "you're beating a dead horse and this country is suffering because of it."
In turn, other attendees vocally registered their own viewpoints in support of McClintock, who quickly put matters to rest with a quiet, but firm suggestion that all present observe civility and order.
Oakhurst/Coarsegold Tea Party Coordinator John Pero inquired as to what McClintock's thoughts might be regarding Russia's aggressive moves in Ukraine.
"We are in no position to intervene militarily," McClintock said. "I happen to believe that the only time military intervention is justified is when we have been attacked."
He felt, however, other pressures could be applied that so far have not, including a world wide economic embargo.
"We should never commit our forces to go into harm's way unless we are willing to back them with the full might and intensity of this nation," McClintock said. "I have absolutely nothing good to say about how George W. Bush handled Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq was never involved in 9/11."
A complaint from Lee Stephansen of Oakhurst about the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision was countered by McClintock's explanation that "The American people have the right to join together in groups, pool their resources and use these resources to disseminate their views. It's called freedom of speech."
Other matters brought to the forefront during McClintock's meeting included more consideration being given to senior citizens, his total disdain for "High Speed Rail," citing Shanghai as being regarded by many as "a better place to do business than Los Angeles" due to freedom from excessive regulation, rejection of term limits, and the Merced River Plan.
The Congressman also referenced annoyance with "the paramilitary forces of the Bureau of Land Management" in its recent confrontation with rancher Cliven Bundy.
"I was glad that Congressman McClintock held a town hall meeting, although I was disappointed at the low turnout, especially since this is an election year," Pero said following the meeting. "Mr. McClintock demonstrated a very good grasp of the issues and was extremely articulate as he talked about the economy, the Affordable Care Act, water and forest issues, foreign policy and what can truly generate real job growth less regulations, a reduced corporate tax rate and a business friendly environment."
Schermerhorn was less than enthusiastic.
"I, too, was very surprised by the poor attendance. There were more politicians there than regular constituents. This makes me think that the Congressman has lost a good deal of his support, and I believe that's because of his disastrous vote which closed down the National Parks and cost the foothill communities millions of dollars in lost tourist revenue."
Two opponents running against Congressman McClintock
Two men are running against McClintock in the June 3 primary election Republican Art Moore, 35, of Auburn, and Jeff Gerlach, 54, of Lincoln, who has no party preference.
Moore is a construction industry executive and former active duty Army officer, and Gerlach, an information technology analyst and project manager.
Moore graduated from Placer High School and West Point, and served in Baghdad post 9/11 commanding an infantry company. He has been endorsed by Mariposa County Supervisor's Chairman Kevin Cann and Supervisors Merlin Jones and Lee Stetson.
Cann has stated that as a man with private business experience and 14 years in the military, Moore is the Republican candidate in the race who is best equipped to help meet the needs of the 4th District.
Former Congressman George Radanovich has also endorsed Moore.
In a prepared statement released April 29, Radanovich said he served in congress for 16 years and "I know the kind of character and temperament required to succeed in Washington. The people of District 4 need fresh blood and a representative willing to work with others to get things done."
Gerlach, who has had no party preference for the past 25 years, feels he is on a great adventure challenging incumbent McClintock and Moore.
A 1986 graduate of California Lutheran University with a degree in English Literature, Gerlach said he has always been interested in political issues and serious with his votes, but has become frustrated with politics in recent years.
"The Republican party is not happy with McClintock," Gerlach said. "I'm self funding my campaign and will not spend over $5,000 during the primary campaign ... I'm not accepting any donations for this campaign.We are going out and talking to a lot of people in a grass roots campaign.I'm a coalition builder ... somebody that can bring diverse ideas together."
Gerlach feels having no party preference is an advantage, not a disadvantage in the race.
"I can offer something to both parties and say no to both parties based on my conscience," Gerlach said.
The United States House of Representatives, District 4 runs from Lake Tahoe and the North Fork of the American River down past Yosemite National Park and includes the Sacramento suburban communities of Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Granite Bay, and El Dorado Hills.