Paulding Rotary Pres. Travis Miller called our October 25th Rotary club meeting to order. After addressing the regular business, Rotary secretary, Ford Thigpen introduced our guest speaker Congressman Tom Graves.
Congressman Graves took the podium and thanked the Rotary Club for a warm welcome as members applauded. Remarking on the fact that we only have 14 days left to go until the election, our Congressman shared that he too was ready for the conclusion. He also pointed out the record voter turnout in both Paulding and Gordon county (his home county). This election cycle seems to be totally unique from all others. The attention has been both entertaining and painful for some. Initially it was thought that this election cycle would represent an anti-incumbent sentiment. However, this seems not to be the case. Most from our district have won re-election. While the presidential race has become a tumultuous media free-for-all, replete with jokes and material for the Saturday Night Live cast, there are many serious issues which are far too important to joke about.
Congressman Graves held up five key issues facing our nation that should not be dismissed or taken lightly. The first of which being our nation's national defense, which has seen a complete lack of direction. There have been eight Isis inspired attacks recently on our soil which received little to no press attention. People died as a result of these attacks. The situation in the Middle East is expanding and there is significant danger from cyber attacks mounting. The threats that we face as a nation are expanding and require immediate attention.
The second immediate situation that needs to be addressed is the economy. 1% growth is not sustainable. Businesses owners and companies have done remarkably under the conditions that they face. There is an extreme burden being imposed by the government, and the weight of that burden makes it extremely difficult for our economic situation to improve.
The third key issue facing the American people moving forward is healthcare. Just today, it's been reported that we will see a 25% average increase in healthcare premiums across the country. This is on top of the premium increases last year, and the year before. As the premiums continue to rise we get further and further away from helping anyone find affordable healthcare. This is hurting, not only families but businesses as they struggle to comply with healthcare provision.
The Fouth Poverty is an issue for everyone. In this country it is on the rise and must be dealt with. As a Republican I believe that an opportunity must be provided to those on the economic bottom. For those who want to better themselves we must have jobs that provide them with an opportunity. Our workforce cannot be left behind as this creates a vacuum for those without jobs, or the skills to get jobs become trapped. A prime example of good intentions gone wrong was when the unemployment benefits were extended for up to 99 weeks. This was to stimulate and help the unemployed during the time in which it was needed. With this there was a requirement for those receiving welfare to pursue work requirements. These work requirements were suspended, by the Obama administration, to those seeking welfare. By providing welfare without these work requirements creates a perfect example of how an apathy can grow, in which the workforce is allowed to fall behind in the skills needed to pursue technology based jobs.
The fifth key issue that faces us all is the imbalance of power that is arisen in the government. Our government exists as a system with checks and balances to ensure the will of the people and the good of the nation is achieved. When one branch of government insists on achieving its goals by bypassing and circumventing the established system we all lose. Through Executive Order or by empowering independent agencies, without any congressional oversight, to carry out the will of the executive branch, is a danger to our nation. The legislative branch of government has filed a lawsuit against the executive branch. This is unprecedented, but has been undertaken to achieve stability in the government. Each branch of government must stay in its lane. For the executive branch to usurp power and enforce its will, even in the face of review by the Supreme Court, is not in the best interest of our country.
The congressman shifting to local events, congratulated the Paulding County community on moving forward with its water reservoir program. Additionally, he noted that the county and community were moving forward and pursuing economic interests locally.
In closing, Congressman Graves said he will be excited to get through the next 14 days. No matter what happens, we will get through this as Americans. Congressman Graves also reminded everyone to look be sure and vote for your candidate. He cautions strongly against allowing polls and the media make your decisions for you. At the end of the day we are all imperfect but as Americans we can move forward. After answering a few questions from the Rotarians Mr. Graves received round of applause for his time and his visit.
Mr. Thigpen reminded everyone that it is a responsibility and duty as well as a privilege. And while the presidential election garners the spotlight, there are 435 members of the House, 34 Senate seats and 80% of our state legislature will be voted on this November.
About Congressman Tom Graves:
Originally from white Georgia and a resident of Gordon County Mr. Graves was elected in 2002 to the Georgia House of Representatives where he served seven years. Then in 2010, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Graves is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which determines how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. On this committee, Congressman Graves serves as chairman of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, where he authors the bill funding the Legislative Branch of government each year. He also serves on the Defense Subcommittee, which funds our national defense, and the Financial Services Subcommittee, which funds our nation's financial infrastructure, such as the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration.