Hoyer speaks on va­ri­ety of is­sues to women’s group

Comey, sports com­plex, and Af­ford­able Care Act big top­ics

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

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.

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