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Ellsworth visits City Hall

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Local resident Tim Dyer (right) speaks with Indiana's 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth (D-Evansville) Wednesday at Brazil City Hall. Ellsworth was in Brazil as part of his current Listening Tour. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
Brad Ellsworth stressed Wednesday at Brazil City Hall he is just like everybody else.

Ellsworth (D-Evansville), who serves as Indiana's 8th District Congressman, pointed out to the 30-plus people who attended his Listening Tour stop in Brazil Wednesday that he, like them, has lost money in his 401(k).

Several county citizens took part in the question-and-answer session Ellsworth conducted, which is part of his current Listening Tour, spanning the 18 counties he serves.

While several topics were discussed, the one people kept coming back to was the recent stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama earlier this week.

"Obviously, we're in tumultuous times," Ellsworth said. "You know, we're trying to get through this. We'll work through this."

Many residents asked Ellsworth about the package. And sometimes, those questions got heated.

"I don't look at this as getting beat up," Ellsworth told the audience. "I signed up for this job. This isn't getting beat up. I'm your connection to federal government.

"I invite you to ask these (questions). I don't take it personally. If the majority of people don't like what I do, they will send me home."

Local resident Tim Dyer asked Ellsworth why he would vote for a stimulus package in November but initially would not vote for the second proposed stimulus package earlier this year.

Ellsworth said he hoped his votes on both showed he was "thinking independently," as opposed to voting with party only.

"That vote may get me in trouble with my party," Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth explained he was not pleased with how money was used in the first stimulus package, giving him reason to change his mind.

"We're told 'jobs, jobs, jobs,' and 'we want to save our economy,'" he said, adding he didn't think the second stimulus package represented job growth.

"That's my way of saying I don't want to sell it," he said. "I want people to know we're trying to save the economy."

He added when the second stimulus package came around a second time, he believed it was a "much better bill," saying he believed jobs could be created.

"I think our economy will turn back around. There is good in this bill," he said. "There's not a congressional member's project on that bill. I'd put that on my baby's head."

Ellsworth then talked about a portion of the stimulus bill that was set aside to help save a rare mouse in the San Francisco area, an area represented by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Ellsworth said that turned out to be a "fabrication" and admitted that is hard to explain to constituents.

"It's horribly frustrating," he said.

Another area resident, Jenny Moore, said she was in favor of the stimulus package but believed giving the money to all United States citizens may prove wiser in the long run.

"Everybody has lost something in this," Moore said.

Ellsworth agreed.

"We can have arguments all over the range of this," he said. "But these are all human beings. They're not gods. They're human."

Clay County citizen Rick James told the congressman he believed people simply didn't trust government officials anymore, but thanked Ellsworth for making a stop in Brazil and for listening to constituents.

"People are just frustrated," Ellsworth said. "They're worried. I think they want us to fix it. But there's not a clear formula, one plus one, to fix it."

The tour concludes Friday in Vincennes.

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One of the things that I appreciate about Brad is the way he sees his job, as a liason between a citizen in his district who is having problems getting something because of the bureaucracy of the Fedral government. He said that his office has interviened on behalf of over 4,000 residents in just over 2 years. That in itself says something about our Fedral Government, that we cannot get some things accomplished without the intervention of a congressman, and it says something about Brad. Thanks Brad for being a normal guy.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 11:57 AM

I can't shake this sick feeling that we have adopted very "socialist" principles to solve a problem in a "market" system. If defaults in the housing market are really to blame (I personally think the artificially high fuel prices had a lot to do with it as well), then we should ask why the "market" would have ever made those loans. The answer lies in an artificial demand created by a government that pushed, forced and threatened banks to make these kind of loans. Did banks take it even further than was intended? Probably. Will the market correct itself? Yes, painfully and in time. Will more governmental interference in a "market" economy help? Well, their track record is not real great. I would hate to see this turn into an excuse for government to inject itself further into the ownership and operation of private business. We've already seen the attitude that is at work - if we give you money, you will run it the way we want, pay what we want, etc. Scary. Lastly, if there had been a referendum, and we the people had voted for what projects should be pursued so as to stimulate the economy, how many of us would have voted for half of what is in there? Where your wishes REALLY represented?

-- Posted by brazilian on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 4:24 PM

Brad isn't in trouble with his party. He voted just the way Speaker Pelosi wanted him to. The bill was never in danger of not passing the first time. The second vote, the conference committee, always has the final say.

-- Posted by davgreencastle on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 10:56 PM

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