WARWICK - Continuing his commitment to accessibility, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) hosted a "town mall" meeting at the Warwick Mall, where he discussed his work in Congress to address key issues facing Rhode Islanders and the nation and offered an opportunity for individuals and families to express their specific concerns.
Having held many town hall meetings during his tenure, including an extended event in the midst of the health care debate in August 2009, Langevin took a unique approach Wednesday. After his opening remarks, constituents were able to speak with him one-on-one, on a first come first served basis, about any issue on their minds, which included job creation, transportation, and college aid.
"As your representative, it is a critical part of my job to listen to what you have to say, whether at businesses in my District, senior centers, schools or one-on-one at events like this," said Langevin. "Everyone won't agree with me on everything, but you deserve to know where I stand on the issues before Congress and why I believe what I do. And you deserve to have access to all the federal resources available to you, which is why I have staff members here to help with individual cases, such as problems with Social Security or Veterans benefits."
Marking the one-year anniversary of the landmark health care law, Langevin reemphasized his support for the measure, which is critical to moving our state forward and increasing access to health insurance to all Rhode Islanders, including those with pre-existing conditions.
Already, approximately 18,000 Rhode Island small businesses have received information on a tax credit to help cover employees, almost 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the state have received a $250 prescription drug rebate check, with many eligible for 50 percent discounts, and more than 3,500 young adults in Rhode Island have access to their parents' health plans.
The health care bill also reduced overall health spending, a vital part of dealing with our ballooning budget deficit. On the current budget debate, Langevin has stressed the need to balance our jobs deficit with our fiscal deficit by having everyone work together on thoughtful solutions. He has opposed arbitrary cuts to college aid and job training programs, while calling for a serious look at all areas of spending, including health care, defense and ways to simplify the tax code to eliminate unfair loopholes.
In addition, Langevin responded to questions about our military involvement in Libya, which he said must be a true international effort that does not require the United States to take the leading role. He urged the Obama Administration to be clear about the objective of the military actions and to ensure Congress has full details about our goals and our progress.
"Everything I do in Washington and at home is with an eye toward the impact it will have on creating jobs and accelerating our still fragile economic recovery," said Langevin. "It is the major objective of my Women in Small Business forum at CCRI tomorrow. It's also why I have been a strong advocate of easing burdens on small businesses, such as removing excessive paperwork that increased taxes, opposing the Republican budget proposal estimated to cost us 700,000 jobs, and fighting efforts to repeal the health care law, which would eliminate up to 400,000 jobs a year."