Conaway Town Hall: Granbury, Texas, 11/18/2017
November 27, 2017Share:
TL;DR: District 11 Congressman Mike Conaway held a town hall meeting during normal working hours and pushed the administration’s tax cut plan. One of our intrepid reporters attended the town hall meeting and provided this account.
Mike Conaway, U.S. Representative, District 11, Texas, held a town hall meeting on November 18, 2017 at the beautifully appointed Granbury City Hall and visitor center. It was a sunny Chamber-of-Commerce-type day with a mild northerly breeze. The meeting hall was set up to seat about 160 people. When the meeting started promptly at 1:00 PM, there were approximately 40 people; and near the finale of the meeting, there were about 60-70 people. The 1:00 PM meeting on a workday afforded an opportunity for our senior citizens to attend, but was not very helpful for working citizens. Most of the attendees were silver-haired, and many had silver hair topped by a shiny dome. There were about a dozen younger folks, and three of those were from Mr. Conaway’s staff. For the most part, it was a civil and respectful audience. Following a brief introductory speech, U.S. Congressman Conaway accepted questions from the audience. He successfully provided an answer for all questions.
The central theme of the opening speech had to do with “Tax Reform,” but it soon became clear that “Tax Reform” is not going to happen. Tax cuts, maybe—tax reform, not so much. Mr. Conaway said that it is self-evident that the current tax code is too complicated. He put forth the favorite GOP fairy tale about Reagan’s “trickle down” economic theory as the main goal of the GOP regarding tax reform. Both houses have large tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. The matter of closing loopholes, according to Conaway, is very complicated due to special interests, and it is likely that many loopholes will remain for corporations and wealthy individuals. He advised that both houses of Congress have their own version of “tax reform.” The House has passed their version and according to Mr. Conaway, the Senate will pass their version soon. The two houses will then come together and reconcile the differences. If the President signs the final version of both houses, then it will become law. Mr. Conaway then said that workers will get immediate relief in their pay checks.
Mr. Conaway said that the Department of Defense will probably get an increase in their budget because we have many airplanes that don’t fly and are always in poor condition. Our naval forces need a lot of additional maintenance as well. He also said that the world is in a better place when the U.S. military is stronger.
A gentleman in the audience inquired about the delay in building the wall. Mr. Conaway’s response was that $1.6 billion had been provided for the building of the wall and that building is underway, mostly in the form of prototypes. He also took this opportunity to mention the Border Patrol officer who was killed, reportedly in the line of duty, as an example of why we desperately need a wall. He failed to mention that the investigation of the incident is still underway, and the nationality of the suspects has not been released to the public.
One of the few moments of frustration happened when a gentleman in the audience inquired about Mr. Conaway’s position on net neutrality. It was easy to observe that Mr. Conaway was not comfortable with the issue, and his answer pretty much followed the GOP party line. He wants to limit the FCC’s power to regulate the internet and to leave the operation of the internet to the corporate world. At this point the gentleman who asked the question said, “So you want to let the corporations have their way?” and he immediately left the room. Mr. Conaway quipped, “I can’t please everybody!” The silence following this remark was deafening. Mr. Conaway seemed to be expecting laughter and a big round of applause.
A woman with a small child in her arms asked why the medical expense deduction was being eliminated for working class people and Conaway’s reply was, “It is for the greater good.”
Someone asked why funds are being cut to the Department of Education, and Mr. Conaway’s response was that the education department in the past only needed to hire additional people to hinder the ability of the states to provide an acceptable education for its people.
A prominent local Democrat asked Mr. Conaway to provide one example where the Reagan trickle-down economic theory has provided one additional job. She immediately followed by saying that she has been waiting for that job creation since Reagan and still has not seen any jobs created by this theory. Mr. Conaway’s reply as best as I can remember was something like this: “That is not the way trickle-down works. By lowering the tax burden on large wealthy corporations, it allows them to bring the money they have in other countries back to the U.S. (i.e. repatriation) and allows them to make investments here at home, growing the economy and creating jobs.” I tried to ask him what keeps a foreign country from reducing their taxes further, thereby keeping U.S. profits overseas; but he failed to look in my direction, so my question remained unasked.
One of the more moronic moments occurred when he tried to explain his position on transgender individuals in the military. He believes that they should not be considered fit for military duty if they must have sex change surgery to be fit for duty. I thought, After all, I guess a person who has bunions is not fit or military service if they require surgery for their bunions. That sure seems foolish.
OF COURSE, THE WALL AND THE RUSSIANS
Towards the end of the hour-long meeting, someone asked him why we are wasting so much time and money on the hoax of Russian interference in our elections. Mr. Conaway’s response was something to this effect: “I guess that you don’t know that I am leading the House Committee investigation on the Russian interference in our elections, and we are seeking facts. We are seeking facts and hope to bring it to a conclusion soon, and I hope that the facts are declassified so we can report our findings to the public. I can’t speak for the Special Counsel’s criminal investigation into the matter. The House role is to determine the facts to prevent future interference.”
All in all, the town hall meeting was nothing more than spouting the GOP party line of giving huge tax cuts to large corporations and wealthy individuals, discriminating against transgender people, increasing military spending, raising taxes on lower and lower middle-income individuals, reducing spending on education, and offering prayers and condolences to victims of gun violence.
LET’S RUN THEM OUT OF OFFICE
Democrats must put forth a viable candidate for all political offices and support them financially and at the ballot box if we expect to make changes. We cannot become the party of obstruction but must put forth solutions to bring about positive change. We can’t sit back and wait for Trump to implode. In the meantime, we need to write, email, and phone our representatives and let them know what we desire.