Bob Porto and I (along with my 15yr old daughter) met with Senator Pryor and four of his staff members today and here a couple of observations, I will expound later-
The conversation was pleasant. The Senator and his staff were welcoming.
We talked a while about how can the people of Arkansas become accurately informed and effectively engaged. How do we help our elected officials to accurately represent the people when they return to Washington to vote on bills that affect our everyday lives?
Senator Pryor agreed that things were moving to fast and that he was thankful for the slowing down and the involvement of THE People. He assured me that when the final health bill was written by the “Conference” that he would let the people of Arkansas know what was specifically in it and would be open to genuine feedback.
Neither the Senator nor any of the four staff people present (Randy, Tate, Mike and Lauren) knew or had ever heard of Van Jones (Green Czar), the Apollo Alliance or John Holdren (Science Czar). We asked who these people are, who they are accountable to, and are the allegations we are hearing about their past as far as being closely tied to radical revolutionary organizations true? We asked if they are on the government pay roll? while they were unable to answer these specific questions, Tate, Senior Legislative Assistant, said he research it and would let me know what he found out.
The Senator reminded us that President Obama is not the first President to have Czars, to which we agreed but still expressed concern about many of the people, with seemingly dubious backgrounds, that President Obama is seemingly surrounding himself with.
As we discussed the healthcare issue the Senator said that there would be efforts to include tort reform in the senate's healthcare bill, which is contrary to what was expressed at Senator Lincoln’s office. I was personally encouraged by that.
We asked if he supported a Public Option, he replied that he would have to see how it was framed and what form it was written, we all agreed we did’t really understand the coop option.
The Senator said that he had recently talked with a Senator from Rhodes Island, Sheldon Whitehouse, and that Rhodes Island had a “public option” that was working. When we asked is it self sustaining he said he did not know.
When we talked about the public options that we already have such as Medicare/Medicaid the Senator considered those programs were successful because they “helped the poor”, but he did agree that they were “unsustainable”.
I asked specifically if he would vote for EFCA, he replied that EFCA would not be dealt with this year and most likely not next year either.
We were there for just over an hour and appreciated the Senator’s time. We hope that this is one of many open dialogues that the Senator is willing to have with his constituents.