Jan. 12, 2012
For Immediate Release
|U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie speaks at a town-hall meeting at Campbellsville University, Jan. 11. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)|
By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Topics ranging from the national debt, health care and the closing of Campbellsville’s air filter manufacturer CLARCOR were addressed by United States Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) in a town-hall meeting attended by about 50 people in the university’s Banquet Hall Jan. 11.
Guthrie talked about issues in Washington, but Taylor County Judge-Executive Eddie Rogers asked Guthrie about the loss of Campbellsville’s CLARCOR and other recent closures including Parker-Kalon.
Rogers said small manufacturers like CLARCOR cannot compete with competition from overseas companies.
Guthrie said working with the tax rate and keeping energy costs down are two items that are being worked on to help manufacturers compete.
Rogers said, “Our people depend on these jobs to make their living.” Seventy-one jobs were lost when CLARCOR closed this week.
“We must get our fiscal house in order,” Guthrie said. “We must make sure it all flows together.”
Guthrie said jobs, the economy and debt were the main topics last year in Washington. He said the national debt of $1.9 trillion is a major concern with Medicaid being the biggest concern.
“We must get the debt under control,” he said.
He said medical costs are soaring as baby boomers retire and use their entitlements including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, who moderated the event, asked about redistricting of Kentucky’s congressional districts and said Taylor County wants to remain in the second congressional district instead of being placed in the first district.
Guthrie said he would like to keep Taylor County in his district because “when people come to Campbellsville, they see a growing community – a growing community of leaders who are doers and who are positive and optimistic.”
He praised Campbellsville University’s “work to provide educational training to dislocated workers in the region.”
In response to a question about aid for injured military men and women, Guthrie said, “We want to make sure our servicemen and women are covered.”
In discussing disclosure of donations for political campaign funds, Guthrie said he was in favor of full disclosure. “You have a right to see who is spending money,” he said.
Chris Tolson, director of financial aid at Campbellsville University, asked Guthrie about the possible changes with PELL grants and other federal student aid programs.
Guthrie said everything is getting looked at, and the biggest fear people his age (47) have is how they are going to afford college for their children. He said college is the path to the future, and he is a big supporter of education.
He said less money is being spent on colleges because of more being spent on Medicaid.
He said people need post-secondary education and to not forget trade programs. He praised Campbellsville University’s efforts in that area.
He talked about health care and its importance. He said one of the biggest cost is the third party payer in health insurance. “We absolutely have to have health reform, and health care must be more user friendly,” he said.
Guthrie’s aide Phyllis Causey, who has worked with Guthrie and former U.S. Cong. Ron Lewis, is retiring and she was given applause for her long-time work. The meeting was her last official act in her position.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.