2:30: Americans for Prosperity-Virginia is meeting at the Massanutten Regional Library in Harrisonburg and there is a packed room of folks of all ages. As we wait for the George Allen and and Ben Marchi to arrive, everyone is visiting and signing in at the table with lots of AFP materials.
Sixth District Chairman Trixie Averill is passing around a sign-in sheet while Charles Kelley of AFP is getting everything organized.
2:45:Trixie opened the meeting and Clerk of Court Chaz Evans-Haywood is now addressing the group as we begin the meeting. Sheriff candidate Kurt Boshart is here as well as the Mosers, Bill Becker, Barb Tillett, Bruce Richmond, Suzanne Obenshain, and many others. Jeff Mellot of the Harrisonburg Daily News Record is also here.
2:50:"That's Harry Reid calling to complain right now." Ben Marchi didn't miss a beat when his cell phone rang in the middle of his opening remarks about how much debt Democrats have put on Americans. He noted his new-born son is already in debt even though he's only a month old. Speaking to the room filled with 50-plus folks, he said knowing the issues and working means every American can make a difference. Those attending are worried about the direction we're heading and concerned about doing something to stop over spending, over reaching government.
3:00: As Ben is introducing George Allen, he noted that Gov. Allen is the reason he got involved in politics with his Jeffersoniad principles.
3:03: "Good afternoon, Patriots all!" boomed George Allen to to the room. He said one of the better things he did during his term as U.S. Senate was nominate Henry Hudson as a federal judge. We in Virginia certainly know who Judge Henry Hudson is ... he is the judge who allowed the Commonwealth's lawsuit against the federal government's demand that citizens pay for health care.
3:10:Gov. Allen is talking about the health care bill, high costs, the waste that occurs when people don't have direct responsibility for costs. Tort reform is something the states can take up themselves and Virginia has rather good laws concerning tort reform.
Our debt level is not good. He pointed out a JMU student who is in the room. These are the young people who will carry the debt now being passed on to them and beyond.
Talked about Ronald Reagan and how that was who got him involved in politics ... the line item veto, something he used while governor. There was the Bridge to Nowhere issues in Alaska that came up while he was in the U.S. Senate ... the line item veto could provide more accountability. Forty-eight states have it including Virginia; federal government does not.
(Three young children have now joined the crowd in the room.)
Time for a balanced budget amendment and line item veto. (People still filing in ... perhaps word has spread throughout the library that George Allen is in the house.)
Thank you to everyone for coming out today. Thank you for staying strong and positive for freedom! (applause)
3:25: Trixie is now introducing Dr. Botachelli who is talking about health care. After asking how many in the room are on Medicare, he said every time he sees a Medicare patient, he loses $10. Hospitals are not for profit but also not for bankrupt. $250 billion to reimburses doctors if it happened today ... six month extension for Medicare but after that, if nothing is voted on, it will drop 21%. Most hospital-based practices now see Medicare patients. What is the future? Five to 10 years, Medicare will be pushed out of the picture and that leaves only Uncle Sam to insure. Government-employed doctors will be government workers. Quality of care will decrease over the years, cost of health care will increase, more money will be paid out, money has to come from government. The "pot of gold" is going to disappear, quality of care will decrease if no changes are made to the bill as it is now.
3:35: The panel has now taken their seats in the front of the room. (Reporter Bob Stuart and photographer Roxanne Webber with the Waynesboro News Virginian just arrived.) The panel is made up of George Allen, Dr. Botachelli, and Ben Marchi. Questions are being asked from the audience and the panel is answering.
An interesting discussion is going on now in the room....
3:55: One more question and then the town hall will wrap up....
3:56: Tommy Moser just introduced himself as a member of the local tea party who said he had heard the Governor may get back into the ring and he was here to say he would be there to back him along with many others. (Outburst of applause in the room.)
George Allen: "Stay tuned. (laugher) I'd love to have you by my side."
4:00: Meeting wrapped up, standing ovation, applause.