Frank Gadbois seems to have a problem with the Georgia Republican congressional delegation supporting President Donald Trump. He especially likes to take verbal shots at 8th District Congressman Austin Scott. Gadbois has again taken some cheap shots at Scott with his April 19, letter to the editor.
I have never met Gadbois but I have known Rep. Scott for well over 15 years and have recognized that he is a man of integrity. Since Gadbois would have his readers believe that Scott is totally absent from his district living a secluded life somewhere inside the beltway, I feel it necessary to set the record straight on a few of his comments.
Scott is well connected to his district and visits the 8th District on a regular basis. He is a very approachable congressman who is open to discuss any issue with a constituent. Gadbois has even met with Scott in the congressman’s office in Warner Robins. So, how can Gadbois say Scott is unknown and imply that he is absent from his district?
Did Scott totally ignore the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association request to speak to them? The fact is that NARFE is a large organization with multiple chapters all over the state and nation. Scott has spoken at several of these chapters in an effort to be available to as many constituents as possible. In October of 2016 the Hawkinsville chapter invited Scott to speak at its meeting and opened its doors to all NARFE members. Since the Hawkinsville chapter rendered its invitation first, Scott granted their request. Information about the representative’s appearance was widely disseminated and therefore Gadbois had an opportunity to see his representative face to face in the 8th District.
Scott has in fact held tele-town-hall meetings on occasion which Mr. Gadbois referred to as being pathetic in nature. I have been privileged to be in on a few of these tele-town-halls. I found nothing about them to be pathetic. In today’s political climate I’ll tell you what is pathetic. It is the attitude exhibited by many of those who have shown up at “town hall meetings” and turned them into “town hall brawls.” Scott also meets with his constituents. During August of each year he hosts a meeting in each of the 24 counties he represents.
Where does the idea that Scott is an absentee congressman come from in the first place? The fact is, just last week Scott visited Moody Air Force Base on the other end of his district. On Tuesday April 11, the leadership at Moody had an opportunity to address current concerns and needs with an active member of the House Armed Services Committee. With deliberations on the National Defense Authorization Act coming very soon, Scott is doing his homework. He is serious about taking care of his district as well as the defense of our great nation.
Last Monday Scott met with the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia to discuss how his work in Washington impacts the 8th District. Attendees also were able to share their concerns with the congressman.
On Wednesday Scott presided over the 35th Annual Fort Valley State Ham & Eggs Legislative Breakfast. He also visited Perry and toured the Georgia State Patrol Hangar which was just dedicated in November.
On Sunday the representative was on hand for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition held at the Perry Convention and Visitors Bureau.
All of this activity is evidence to me that Congressman Scott is not absent from the 8th District as Gadbois implied in his letter.
Gadbois implied that our congressman is ready to throw 23 million people off of Obamacare and leave them to care for themselves. Yes, Scott is in favor of repealing and replacing the ACA with something better for all citizens. Like it or not, this ill-conceived health-care law is doomed to fail. Rather than have it implode on its own and leave the masses to fight for their survival, Scott thinks it would be better to fix the problem before it gets worse. In fact, he is in favor of keeping some elements of ACA. He favors keeping the pre-existing clause and he favors keeping dependents on a policy until they are 26 years of age. He also favors a no lifetime cap. However, many of the mandated elements of the law simply set the stage for failure.
Scott is not against Medicare and Medicaid. He does have questions about expanding these programs. He simply wants to insure that our tax dollars are spent wisely and not frivolously.
Another issue that Gadbois addressed before calling Scott a hypocrite was that of the federal government paying his family insurance premium. The fact is that in August of 2013 Gadbois’ beloved President Obama issued an executive order placing members of Congress on a subsidy comparable to what citizens pay who are covered by an ACA program. Scott, as I said, is a man of high integrity. He was not in favor of this action imposed on him. He will not have his integrity called into question so each month he takes out his check book and writes the government a check for $800 or so dollars which is what he is subsidized. Yes that is right. He is paying it himself.
Most employers of a large work force have some sort of insurance program. A precious few pay the entire premium for their employees. Most have a percentage split with the employee paying between 25 percent and 50 percent of the total premium. Since Gadbois is affiliated with the local NARFE chapter, I assume when he worked he had top notch insurance coverage which the government at least paid in part. I wonder, if this is the case, how can he be in a position to call Scott a hypocrite?
Further, Gadbois is still crying in his soup over the fact that Jim Marshall was defeated in 2010 by a small town real estate broker. His facts are wrong again. Scott was an insurance broker. As for Marshall he served his country with honor while in uniform and he followed his convictions to serve the 8th District in a manner that he thought was the best way. Unfortunately for him he was too close to the establishment in Washington to suit his constituents.
The final point I wish to rebut is the statement that Scott seldom shows up at Robins Air Force Base and nobody knows who he is. The fact is that Scott has visited Robins AFB many times as well as Moody AFB. He is one of the most well connected congressmen for military issues and stands readily available to lend an ear to our military leadership.
Robins AFB is very close to Scott’s heart. Does Gadbois recall how Scott went to bat to save the C-130 maintenance jobs at Robins AFB (about 800 or so)? Also he is working on recapitalization for the J-STARS. At Moody he has saved its A-10s.
I understand Gadbois’s concern with the chance that Obamacare may be repealed at some time. But I can’t understand why he would choose consistently to bash Scott with all of his half fact, lose end statements and unfounded innuendos.
Emory Johnson is a resident of Kathleen.