Hoyer speaks on variety of issues to women’s group
Comey, sports complex, and Affordable Care Act big topics
The Women of Action Charles County (WOACC) have marched for women’s rights, equality and national issues facing families, and they continue their call to action by tackling issues affecting Southern Maryland.
On May 9, the WOACC invited U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) to the Waldorf West Library for a meet and greet with residents. Citizens voiced concerns about topics including the American Health Care Act (AHCA), education and the recent firing of FBI director James Comey.
“These women have been determined to make their voices heard, to take action, to affect change in our community,” said Abena McAllister, founder of the WOACC. “They have given their time, energy to make calls, send emails to our representatives in Maryland and in other states, as well as to Republicans. I’m really proud of us. We are also grateful to Hoyer for being an advocate for us, remembering us and fighting for us.”
During the meeting, several WOACC members voiced concern about how the AHCA will impact families nationwide. The new health care act, a bill that rivals Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), was recently passed in the House of Representatives and will move onto the Senate in coming weeks.
Carolyn Engleson of Charlotte Hall said, “As a nurse I serve the public and I see the people that are going to be affected by the healthcare. My concern is the collaboration between the parties that is not happening. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and I would like us to transition to universal healthcare.”
Hoyer said many Republicans voted in favor of the AHCA — also dubbed Trumpcare — knowing that it was a “bad bill” and that $880 billion will potentially be cut from Medicaid.
“The good news is that the Senate is not buying it. This new bill is going to hurt a lot of people — 24 million people will lose their insurance and 14 million people will be off Medicaid. People need insurance ... premiums have gone up and you can’t afford insurance,” Hoyer said.
In recent news, President Donald Trump fired FBI director James B. Comey moments before the Tuesday WOACC event in Waldorf. Comey was leading a criminal investigation into whether Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Charles County Democratic Central Committee Treasurer Russell Yates asked whether Comey being ousted by Trump and Sally Yates testifying before Congress will eventually lead to finding information that directly implicates the current administration, and if citizens should expect immediate action as a result.
“I think they fired Comey because they are worried about the Russian investigation. If that’s what they did, it is despicable and Congress ought to investigate it,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer said he is not sure at this time whether the investigation into the Trump administration will continue.
Dottery Washington, a Waldorf resident, spoke about Charles County not having a local sports complex for senior citizens, residents and local youth.
“Prince George’s County has sports and learning complexes all over for the youth, but we don’t have one here and I shouldn’t have to travel to Prince George’s County to use their complex,” Washington said. “The sports complex in Waldorf cannot hold the whole community. We have all these kids in the community with nothing to do. Crime is going to go sky high. We need to get in front of this, find a middle ground and a solution.” Hoyer agreed. “This is the perfect place to have one or two Boys & Girls Clubs of America facilities, in north and south Charles County, and the county has got to have some excess facilities for the community to use,” Hoyer said.
Other members of the WOACC voiced their concerns as well.
LGBTQ advocate Joan Madewell, a La Plata resident, asked what the Democratic Party is doing to protect her equal rights as part of the LGBTQ community. She also asked why there is not much talk about the genocide happening in Chechnya. “Gay men are being tortured and killed and as a nation, we have said nothing,” Madewell said.
Tajala Battle-Lockhart of White Plains said her biggest concern is education and the Trump administration’s plans to cut early childhood education programs. “I heard the Trump administration plans to take away school lunches and after school programs, but that is a big need in the county,” Battle-Lockhart said.
Hoyer also addressed questions about transportation issues, student loan forgiveness and voting. He encouraged the citizens to continue to be involved and to take their efforts nationwide to help create change across the U.S.
“The Women of Action Charles County is already making a lot of noise and I am so excited about this group taking action,” Hoyer said.
For more information, contact McAllister at WOACCMD@gmail. com.
U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer speaks at the Women of Action Charles County meet and greet at Waldorf West Library on May 9.
Dottery Washington, a Waldorf resident, asks a question at the Women of Action Charles County meet and greet with U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer on May 9.