Rep. Guthrie set to visit SCC on Aug. 27

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By John Overby

In what has become an annual event, Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) will have a town hall meeting at St. Catharine College next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Pettus Auditorium, which is located inside the Hamilton Building. This year’s speaking engagement will have a similar feel to ones in years past with the primary focus on answering questions from the audience.

“It is an honor to represent Kentucky’s Second District, and I look forward to hearing what’s on the mind of my fellow Kentuckians,” Guthrie said in a press release. “There are so many issues in the news today, and I think it’s important to provide an opportunity to discuss them.”

In last year’s town hall meeting, Guthrie addressed a wide range of topics, including concerns over domestic spying allegations against the National Security Agency (NSA), whether or not to wage war with Syria, the Affordable Care Act and illegal immigration.

Almost all of the discussions came as a result of a question-and-answer format, which Guthrie encouraged from his opening statement.

“I’m here to talk about whatever you guys want to talk about,” Guthrie said. “I didn’t come here with any agenda … It’s open to the floor. I want to hear what you guys have to say.”

Another issue involved the allegations that the NSA had illegally obtained and shared phone, text, email and other data from American citizens.

Guthrie’s stance was that it was clear that “things are going on that are unconstitutional,” and he said Congress was duped into authorizing the program as it currently operates along with the rest of the country. He said at the time that he believed the program should be forced to either clean up its act or be shut down entirely.

However, Guthrie also noted some of the good that has come from the program, like the capture of Najibullah Zazi, who plotted to bomb the New York City subway system.

Without more honesty, though, Guthrie said the program has no future, regardless of what good can come from it.

One of the most discussed subjects last year dealt with The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which many still view as an issue today.

Guthrie was quick to establish that he felt it was a plan doomed from the start.

“This bill just doesn’t work. It’s going to make more people uninsured, and I’ll argue with anybody on that,” he said. “People, particularly who are represented by unions, have a better health plan (currently), and they’re going to have to lower their health care. UPS has already announced that they’re not going to cover spouses because of the rising costs that they have in health coverage somewhere else. You’re starting to see the affects, and it’s becoming more and more unpopular.”

The final issue Guthrie addressed during his last visit to Springfield was immigration. He admitted that illegal immigration has become a problem in the United States but said there is no easy solution and that it will be a step-by-step process to figure out the best way to address the issue.

“What happened in 1986, was they promised border security and gave true amnesty saying they’d secure the border. They didn’t change the immigration system,” Guthrie said. “It’s actually very difficult to get a visa to live legally in the United States, so when demands for employees rose in the ‘90s because of the rising economy, there was no way for people to come legally to work, so people came illegally.”

In addition to Guthrie speaking next Wednesday, representatives from Constituent Services will also be available to meet with individuals to discuss specifics related to social security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits or any other federal program.