Yesterday afternoon Gerry Connolly had a townhall meeting at the Greenspring Retirement Community. Based upon the fact that there were panelists there from AARP and other organizations that advocate for seniors, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the meeting was designed to address some of the questions that seniors had surrounding health care reform. Considering the fact that the room was filled to capacity and there was a waitlist of at least 100 more residents, it’s safe to say that there was a lot of interest in this meeting among Greenspring residents.
What I found to be rather interesting was that there was a long waiting list of residents who wanted to get into the event, but couldn’t because there were only so many people who could get into the space. While there were seniors who had legitimate questions about how the reform would impact their medicare or specific concerns regarding treatment that they were receiving, there were Republican candidates who were there largely so that they could shake some hands and try to get some votes.
Keith Fimian, for instance, was there. In case you don’t remember, Keith Fimian is the Republican who ran against Gerry last year and has already had his cronies make a more moderate candidate drop out of the 2010 race so that he can have a clean ride to the Republican nomination. While we do live in a free country, I thought it was a shame that Fimian was willing to deny residents of Greenspring a legitimate chance to interact with their Congressman just so that he could try to score some political points. What’s even more interesting is the fact that during the campaign last year I repeatedly asked Fimian about what he felt should be done regarding health care. He never gave me an answer and kept insisting that we had more important issues to address. In other words, he didn’t feel like addressing the issue when given the chance. When it came to denying someone with legitimate questions on the topic a chance to attend a townhall about it, however, he felt that it was the right thing for him to do so that he could go shake some hands.
By denying a senior the opportunity to attend a townhall meeting in their own community, Keith Fimian has helped to illustrate how the right wing of the Republican Party views the healthcare debate as an opportunity to score political points instead of an opportunity to provide Americans with the affordable health care coverage that they deserve. By making sure that a more moderate candidate dropped out of the Republican primary, however, the leaders of the Republican Party here in the 11th CD have made it clear that they support people like Fimian who put their own interests before those of the community.