Congressman addresses key national and local issues
Democrat Chris Van Hollen, Representative of Maryland's Eighth Congressional district, called a town hall meeting to discuss critical issues with area residents at Takoma Park Middle School on Nov. 21.
Van Hollen discussed the recent issues before the 109th Congress, primarily the war in Iraq, budget battles and energy policy. He ended the session by touching on several issues relevant to Takoma Park residents.
Van Hollen used the town hall meeting, open to all eighth district residents, to share his views on the Iraq conflict. He divided his segment on Iraq into three topics: the steps leading to the invasion, how the invasion was conducted and what the United States should do to get out.
He delivered a sweeping criticism of the Bush administration's actions in all three of these categories, claiming that they have served only to ruin America's credibility in the international world. Van Hollen accused the president of misleading the American people prior to and after the invasion. "The president has presented a utopian democratic vision of Iraq," he said.
He stressed throughout his speech that officials need to be held accountable for their actions, especially misrepresentation of intelligence prior to the war. "We need to take a serious look at what happened," said Van Hollen
Van Hollen also discussed the recent passage through Congress of what he called a shameful budget package. He decried the $50 billion spending cuts in important programs such as student loans, food stamps, Medicaid and child support. He accused conservative politicians of using these budget cuts to fund tax cuts for the rich.
Van Hollen touched on several local issues such as federal contributions to a Takoma Park community center and the investment of $2.4 million in a Montgomery and Prince George's County joint anti-gang task force. He also announced the inclusion of a new Purple Line in the New Start program, which allows states to access federal funds for civil projects.
The town hall meeting ended with a question-and-answer session with local residents.
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