Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 25, 2014

Congressman addresses US issues during townhall meeting

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Fielding questions on healthcare, the economy and the increased amount of power certain government entities seem to be gaining, U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling reminded the group attending Thursday's townhall meeting in Jacksonville “there's a good amount of wisdom and insight to be found in East Texas.

“I've discovered in my congressional career that there's very little wisdom and insight to be found in Washington D.C.,” he said to the 30-member crowd gathered at the Norman Activity Center. “My main purpose is to listen to you … I think it's important that members of Congress – any elected official – remain accountable to the people who've entrusted (them to office).”

Elected to Congress in 2002 to represent the 5th District of Texas, Hensarling currently serves as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

During Thursday's gathering, he addressed several concerns impacting “the direction of our country today,” adding, “I have great hope for tomorrow.”

A main concern is the mindset that creates two different realities for Americans.

“It's almost like there are two Americas: One for those in Washington, (another for) the rest of the hard-working families in America and East Texas,” he said. “That's not right.”

The most noticeable is the government itself, which he described as “growing too large, too insensitive, too intrusive into our lives.”

Instead of being “a nation of laws (guided by) the rules of law, instead, we're seeing the rules of rulers,” Hensarling explained. “We've got a president whose got a phone and a pen, I just wish he had a copy of the Constitution and read it more frequently than I think that he has. And I say that because it's part of the challenge that we're facing.”

As a result, “power is being transferred from 'we the people' ” to “legions, to armies of people who are unelected and unaccountable.”

This type of set-up, he pointed out, is bad because these individuals grow further and further removed from those they are meant to be serving.

Another area impacted by the dual-mentality is the nation's economy.

“… Washington is accountable is with your money, your children's money and your grandchildren's money – if we don't start living within our means, if we don't stop spending money we don't have,” the nation could very well be sunk into a debt crisis, Hensarling said.

Although some pockets of the nation haven't been impacted as harshly as others, “people are still staying awake at night, trying to figure out how to make ends meet,” and they understand that “this isn't how the economy ought to be,” he said.

He added, “your family's prosperity should not depend upon who you know in Washington, it ought to depend on how hard you work and how smart you work. That's what's fair. Increasingly, through law … we've got way too much Washington insider economy. And we're trying to level that playing field.”

Hensarling assured the crowd these concerns are outweighed by the knowledge there are “more and more people who want to take their country back” and as a result, becoming more involved in the political process.