Placer County turns out for McClintock town hall

Congressman speaks to the issues at Rocklin Event Center
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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Congressman Tom McClintock drew a large crowd to the Rocklin Event Center Tuesday evening, where his town hall meeting sparked conversations about taxes, health care, gun control and President Obama’s birth certificate.

McClintock, a Republican who represents California’s 4th congressional district, said this was the 47th town hall meeting he’s held. He started the evening off by asking how many people in the room felt this country is going in the wrong direction, and said he wasn’t surprised that most audience members raised their hands.

“We’ve had three major votes since the beginning of the year, and I’ve found none of them encouraging,” he said.

He lamented the “fiscal cliff” deal, which he opposed on the grounds that it adds $300 billion to the financial obligations of this country; the Hurricane Sandy relief vote, which he said authorized 90 percent of the emergency relief money to be spent on non-emergency items; and the debt limit deal, which removes the debt limit for the next four months.

“It hands the most spendthrift administration in the history of the country literally the ability to borrow whatever they can,” McClintock said.

He outlined his plan for a prosperous America, which includes getting spending under control, controlling regulations that are “absolutely smothering” prosperity and opening up America’s “vast energy resources.”

A hot-button issue addressed by McClintock and audience members was the Affordable Care Act, which McClintock believes must be repealed. The act, he said, could result in loss of jobs and actually increase health care costs. Part of the solution, he said, is to address the “cost drivers” pushing health care costs up, including “runaway litigation.”

When an audience member raised the issue of gun control, McClintock said there are members of both parties who oppose proposed controls.

“Gun control laws are extremely effective, extremely effective, at disarming law-abiding citizens,” he said. “They are extremely ineffective at disarming criminals and madmen.”

McClintock encouraged civility, especially as one audience member challenged the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

“I think, with all due respect, this is one of the silliest arguments in the history of American history,” he said, pointing out that he, like Obama, has no more proof of his birthplace than his authenticated birth certificate.

“I think that this whole debate not only brings back memories of the left trying to delegitimize George W. Bush,” he said, “but I also think it played a major role in distracting the discussion on the issues that are so important to our country.”

William Jessup University public policy majors Evan Gillespie, Jake Dolan and Jacob Kuyat, all Republicans, attended the town hall meeting, and all were supportive of what McClintock had to say. When asked what the most important issue raised of the evening was, Kuyat replied, “I would say making the Republican case, going back to principles.”

Ophir resident and veteran Terry Crouson described McClintock as “one of the straightest congressmen that I’ve observed.”

“He’s not a go-along-to-get-along type guy,” Crouson said. “He stands up for what he thinks is right. He’s an independent Republican … I think that’s why they get irritated at times.”

McClintock also addressed corporate tax loopholes, an issue raised by California Fair Share organizer Patrick Stelmach, saying he would support ending them.

“Representative McClintock must act on his words,” Stelmach said in a press release issued Wednesday. “As he said, it’s outrageous that so many corporations exploit loopholes in the tax code to avoid paying their fair share.”

California Fair Share is the organizer of the Put America to Work campaign to push Congress to make job creation a priority in the budget debate, according to Stelmach. That is done, he said, by focusing on corporate tax loopholes that do not support job creation, including ending the use of “offshore tax havens.”

Helmach organized a group of students and activists Wednesday at Sierra College to gather in the center of campus and encourage fellow students to call McClintock, urging action to end loopholes and make job creation a priority.

“Students and activists have taken to the phone to tell Representative McClintock: We need jobs, not corporate loopholes,” Stelmach said in his statement. “By closing massive corporate tax loopholes, Representative McClintock can deliver a growing economy and a stronger budget in 2013.”

Auburn resident Cyndi Klement said she was encouraged to see so many young people turn out to the Rocklin Event Center for the town hall meeting. She also echoed McClintock’s sentiment that discussion of issues should be civilized.

“People, when they’re really rabid about a subject, it’s hard to curb that venom,” she said. “I think we need to do a better job of getting back to some of that civility. There were some things that I thought were uncalled for, but that’s part and parcel of having this forum and the freedom of speech.”