by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
U.S. CONGRESSMAN JOHN MOOLENAAR held his monthly office hours at Owosso City Hall Thursday, Aug. 11, and a handful of area residents attended the session. Moolenaar spoke about the issues he has recently been working on as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and took questions from the audience for over an hour.
Here, Moolenaar listens as area resident Gregg Todd speaks during the intimate conversation. While the discussion was not attended by many residents, the few in attendance spoke intelligently and asked detailed questions, with much of the conversation involving budgetary issues. (Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
John Moolenaar, who represents Michigan’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, answered questions from local residents during his monthly trip to Shiawassee County Thursday, Aug. 11. He briefly outlined the issues that he and the U.S. House of Representatives have been working on recently, and he spent the remainder of his time answering questions from those in attendance. Moolenaar is currently visiting his 15 counties, with the House of Representatives to reconvene after Labor Day.
“It has been honor to serve my district over the last year and a half,” Moolenaar said. “My offices in Michigan and Washington D.C. have handled over 1,000 constituent concerns over that time, and being able to help people is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”
While Moolenaar is a member of both the Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology committees, his work on the Budget Committee dominated the discussion on this day. Additionally, he spoke about the need to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes, he reaffirmed his opposition of the Iran nuclear deal, and he talked about President Obama’s “over-reaching” LGBT legislation.
Moolenaar responded to questions about why Congress cannot pass a balanced budget by saying, “You look at the budget in 10-year windows, and for the last two years we (House Republicans) have proposed budgets that would balance within 10 years. A lot of our spending is automatic spending, and the challenge is that we need to be wise and prudent in our discretionary spending, but we also need to reform programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in a way that keeps and honors our commitments, but also ensures that those programs will be there for future generations. The budgets proposed by President Obama have not balanced as far as the eye can see, so we have some work to do.”
Moolenaar also addressed Donald Trump’s recently-released budget plan, saying he agrees with most of the plan, though his busy meeting schedule had precluded him from watching the speech live on Monday, Aug. 8. He agreed that the country needs a “simpler, fairer tax code that brings dollars from offshore back into the U.S.,” and that the country needs to “quit penalizing businesses that want to re-invest in the United States. He also said, “As far as tax reform, I think there is a potential for the next president to be part of the solution, and we need executive leadership that will work with Congress to get that done.”
Moolenaar was later asked what he would say to Republican voters who are still not sure about Donald Trump. Moolenaar called Trump’s selection of Mike Pence as his running mate “a solid choice,” explaining that Pence’s understanding of state and federal government makes him a good compliment to Trump, who does not have formal political experience.
“I was a Marco Rubio supporter; I even worked on his campaign,” Moolenaar said. “My conclusion is that politics are about choices. The choices are never perfect, but you have to make the best choice for the situation you are in. When I look at who Trump would appoint to the Supreme Court compared to the names Hillary Clinton has suggested, there is a tremendous difference. And when I think of areas of tax reform, strengthening our national defense, fighting terrorism, addressing executive overreach, I think Donald Trump would be far more willing to work with Congress on these issues and would support the policies and legislation that would help our country.”