U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy’s town hall meeting Feb. 20 at the VFW Post in Rhinelander was well-attended, leading to a standing room only crowd that at times grew contentious.
About 100 people came to the VFW Post with their questions and concerns for Duffy, a 7th District Republican from Ashland. Duffy said that, while these style of meetings can get colorful at times, he feels an obligation to be accessible to the people of his district.
“Right now, of course, the economy and jobs are on everyone’s mind,” said Duffy. “A lot of people feel that Washington is attacking their way of life. It’s our duty as legislators to make sure everyone is on an even footing.”
Duffy pointed out that, during his one year in office, Congress has sent 25 jobs bills to the U.S. Senate, only to see them either manipulated or completely ignored.
“It’s frustrating, because I believe the people want real leadership, and at times we aren’t seeing that,” said Duffy. “I personally believe that the private sector will lead this economy back, but unfortunately all my colleagues don’t agree.”
Duffy said he does not support raising taxes on anyone in the current recession, but he admitted the tax code needs to be fixed. He said that, at least at the moment, partisanship is getting in the way of Congress and the Senate making any accomplishments.
“There is a lot of things that are common sense bills that are right down the middle, but they aren’t getting done due to the in-fighting,” said Duffy, who considers himself a “common-sense Republican.” “You can be truthful and disagree, but you can’t lose respect for each other.”
During the Town Hall, Andy Loduha, the President of the Oneida County Republican Party, asked Duffy why, considering the country’s $16 trillion debt, a balanced budget amendment hasn’t passed through the legislature. “I would think something like that should pass easily,” said Loduha.
In his response, Duffy referenced partisanship as the major hurdle.
“We need a super majority to pass it, and we haven’t gotten there,” said Duffy. “In the meantime, this country’s debt continues to grow at an astronomical rate. If we don’t deal with it, it will continue to be a cancer on this country.”
Duffy also said that reducing the federal government’s debt and balancing the federal budget is a non-partisan issue that needs to be addressed.
“It’s not just a Democrat problem. It’s not just Obama’s problem. Both sides had people making promises and giving favors,” Duffy said. “Republicans overspent too.”
Duffy was also asked what his opinion was on term limits for Congressmen and Senators. He pulled no punches in saying that if a legislator is no longer effective in their job, it’s time for them to go.
“I think 12 years is an appropriate limit to place, which would mean two terms for Senators and six for Congressmen,” said Duffy. “This is a job where you should never feel comfortable or complacent.”
Editor Craig Mandli is available at email@example.com.