Monday, July 6, 2009

John Barrow speaks to veterans in Milledgeville

Milledgeville Union Record:

One day before Americans stopped to celebrate the sacrifices of those 56 original patriots who risked their lives and livelihoods to declare their independence from the global power that ensnared the people of this new land, Milledgeville’s Congressman reached out to those modern day patriots whose sacrifices have ensured that this nation will never be ensnared again.

Congressman John Barrow, D-12th District, made a stop in Milledgeville Friday to meet with constituents and area veterans on his annual Veterans Town Hall Tour. About 65 people filled American Legion Post 523 on Martin Luther King Drive to hear Barrow talk about veterans’ issues unfolding in the nation’s capital and to ask him about his stances on national issues that affect constituents on the local level.

Barrow told those in attendance about his efforts to raise the mileage reimbursement for veterans who have to travel to receive medical care from the federal government, about increases in federal spending on veterans’ healthcare and a revamping of the GI Bill that promises to cover all the costs of a college education for service men and women returning from active duty.

Barrow said that following World War II, the GI Bill was one of the biggest factors in growing the middle class. But in recent years, the benefits paid by the GI Bill have remained stagnant as secondary education costs continue to rise.

Several veterans asked the Congressman what he and his office can do to help expedite medical claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Georgia Department of Veterans Services.

Barrow told audience members that his office will do anything it can to work with veterans to cut through the bureaucracy and help them receive the care they earned.

Attendees also peppered Barrow with questions about his stance on Pres. Barack Obama’s health care reform proposal and the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

Barrow told the audience that he supports reforming health care, but it must be done in a way that does not sacrifice coverage and care for any Americans who already have the insurance they want.

“I think that everyone in the country should have access to hamburger, but steak should cost extra,” he analogized about the health care proposals floating around Washington. “But when you’re buying that hamburger, you should be assured that it is hamburger and not sawdust.”

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