Some Questions For You, Tom Reed

Congressman Tom Reed,

I have a couple of questions for you but I need to preface them with a short story.

A young man served his county for almost four years honorably then got a job after serving. He worked at this job for almost 40 years, paid his taxes (including FICA and Medicare) served the community and not just financially. He made sure his neighborhood was safe and tried his best to make sure his property was in good repair.

He and his wife had three amazing children and raised them to always respect others, and to honor the core values of family, community and country. He loved the ability to work with public safety to make sure the quality of life they wanted was there for family and the close knit community.

They saved each week to make sure in retirement they could be comfortable and still donate to family and community. Of course there were a few bumps in the road and with family and friends’ support they made it through. Six by-passes, cancer among other things. Sounds like a wonderful life, doesn’t it — a real American dream we all believe in, right?

Now we come to the part when this couple could use help with rising medical costs. Who knew one of them would take a drastic turn for the worse.

Oh, yes, you say we have Medicare and United Health Care to help us through this time of need. Well, now, just their costs of meds for an eight-day period was $285 plus and nursing home care is now over $340 a day. Before you receive any help, the system you have created strips them of almost all of their savings and nonliquid assets. This is the just the tip of the iceberg; there are millions of seniors out there that have to choose between medications and food. If you can feel a tear coming down from my eyes then maybe, just maybe, you get the message.

I know you’ve been waiting patiently for the questions and I thank you in advance for that. Mr. Reed: Question one, and correct me if I’m off base. Congress votes in their own wage and benefit packages, so given that, if a congressman and his wife were to experience the same situation, how much out-of-pocket dollars would it cost them? (Remember the above couple’s taxes employ the congressman and pay his way.)

Question two: after hearing this story, can you tell them how the health care bill you just voted for will help them and have you ever sat down, one-on-one and just talked to seniors (who made this “country great”) and try to repair the disconnect between them and the representatives who took an oath to faithfully represent all citizens?

P.S. It is sad that in this country you can not run for an office like yours unless you can raise over $500,000 in a quarter. I may not be as articulate, educated or well-connected as you are, but I would never sell the struggling senior, the youth nor the hard working middle class down the drain.

My hope is that voters wake up before it is too late for all of us This message is not partisan, just common sense for what’s right for the masses!

Again, I thank you for your time and attention to my message.

Paul D. Whitford is a Jamestown resident and member of the Chautauqua County Legislature.