Residents Greet Toomey
U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) fielded an array of questions during a sit-down with around two dozen county residents at the Fulton County Library last Thursday as part of his ongoing campaign trail across the commonwealth.
Introduced by Fulton County Council of Republican Women President Bonnie Mellott Keefer, Toomey, 48, last attempted to secure the Republican Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in 2004. He lost to then Republican Sen. Arlen Specter by a slim margin of 1.7 percent.
Prior to taking questions, Toomey kicked off his talk with an overview of the political environment and, in particular, his campaign.
“I think we have the most liberal elected government in the history of the country. They are trying to take America on the lurch to the left that we’ve never seen before in our lifetime,” said Toomey. “Of course Sen. Specter and Congressman Joe Sestak are just too happy to go right along with that ride. It’s not right for America, and it’s not right for Pennsylvania.”
“This is really a departure from everything that has made this country a special and great country,” noted Toomey, who added people, many of whom have never been involved in politics, are fighting back and reacting to the current administration through a variety of endeavors such as tea parties and town hall meetings.
People are realizing we can’t borrow and spend our way to prosperity, said Toomey.
Taking questions from the audience, Hustontown resident Bill Watson pointed out many in attendance have had their “bellyful” of politicians who make all sorts of promises on the campaign trail that never come to fruition once in office. Watson asked Toomey to offer the crowd some type of hope that he is not one of those types of politicians.
Toomey responded the best means of determining his character would be to investigate his voting record as a member of the 15th Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives, that spanned three consecutive terms of office between 1999 and 2005.
According to Toomey, during his first attempt to secure office in 1998 he promised his constituents he would only serve three two-year terms. He held true to his promise in spite of fellow congressmen urging him to stay on board and become a career politician. Following that stint in office, Toomey served as the president of the Club for Growth, which focuses on a variety of issues such as limited governmental control and free enterprise.
“I think I won’t let you down,” he concluded.
Marty Hann touched on torte reform and spoke on individuals being forced to file grievances with insurance companies through the federal government instead of through a court of their peers. Hann added the cash awards of
fered in these cases are limited to what the insurance company owes you as well as legal fees.
Toomey stated the type of torte reform he sees the nation needing less excessive litigation in healthcare. “I know of hospitals and doctors who have been sued, and lottery style awards have been given where they shouldn’t have been. I think this increases the cost of healthcare,” he indicated.
Toomey also announced his is totally opposed to the new healthcare bill that was recently passed. Seeing the country heading in the wrong direction with the bill, he said the primary focus should be on making healthcare more accessible and affordable as well as encouraging competition in health insurance that would likely lower costs and improve service.
Resident Sue Schooley asked if there is a chance the healthcare bill could be repealed. “It seems like we’re heading up stream,” she said. Toomey summed up his response with “the last chapter has not been written in this book.”
Following some additional questions and comments, Marty Hann again returned to the topic of healthcare, Medicare and advocated healthcare for everyone. Hann’s questioning spawned a brief debate between several residents.
“When we say you have a right to have healthcare, what people are really saying is you have a right to have someone else pay for your healthcare,” Toomey stated. “Everyone has a right to go out and buy health insurance. I think we should look for whatever ways we can to make it convenient, less expensive, open up the market and have as much competition as possible ... I’m not in the camp that we should make this a universal entitlement or a general welfare program.”
Toomey is a native of Rhode Island and a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in political science. He and his wife, Kris, currently reside in Zionsville, Pa., and are the parents of two children, Bridget and Patrick Jr.