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Stately visit

Sunday, May 1, 2011

United States Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) stops and chats with Brazil resident Amos Thomas following his speaking engagement with the Clay County Republican Club Saturday. The event took place at the YMCA of Clay County. [Order this photo]
Lugar remains optimistic for future of country

With so many believing the United States is in the dumps, Sen. Richard Lugar would prefer to remain optimistic about the country's future.

"I'd like to be optimistic that we're going to make headway," Lugar told a packed house Saturday at the YMCA of Clay County, 225 E. Kruzan St., Brazil.

The long-time Republican Senator was the guest speaker for the Clay County Republican Club's meeting Saturday.

During his two-hour visit, Lugar discussed a handful of issues, including agriculture, food, oil, health care, and more. He also offered residents an opportunity to ask him questions.

He spent several minutes on all the topics.

Lugar told the audience Saturday it was crucial for America's farmers to not only plant for the country, but the world as well.

"Around the world, millions are not eating well," Lugar said. "Governments are trying to hang on by distributing food subsidies. This leads to political unrest."

In addition, Lugar said the world's wheat crop is not in good shape.

"It's important to celebrate the uniqueness of American farmers," Lugar said. "We're doing well, but we have to do better still. We have a chance to create extraordinary wealth in rural areas of Indiana."

In regard to the ongoing debate on health care, Lugar said he does not support current legislation.

Lugar added, especially in rural areas, getting quality health care is not easy. However, he noted the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health, based at Indiana State University, is helping with the issue.

"Having doctors and other professionals in the area is essential," he said. "A lot of private doctors in Indiana are getting up in age. Rural health in Indiana is not the best. We need doctors in western Indiana.

"But there are positive signs. This is not the end to the story regarding health care."

Lugar then tackled the increasing prices of gasoline, saying nearly all of the past five presidents have said the country has to become independent of foreign oil.

Lugar said he does not agree with the cap-and-trade policies of the Obama administration while adding the country should look to its coal industry for additional energy use, adding China is currently looking for coal in Africa.

"We will either solve these problems in a rational way or people will fight over it until they die," Lugar said.

He then discussed the country's budget issues, stating the country hasn't officially had a budget in a while, but rather has moved forward with continual resolutions.

"(The budget issues) lie immediately ahead," he said. "We have discussed very little in the first three-four months of the year."

Lugar said he hopes to find ways to cut further into the budget and added entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security may have to be cut.

While discussing American troops overseas, Lugar said he does not favor involvement in Libya.

"Libya is in a Civil War," he said. "At this particular point, our armed forces are stretched. We have had an involvement and it's expensive and the meter is running."

During the question/answer session, Parke County resident Judy Proctor said the country was collapsing due to financial problems that may not be able to be repaired.

"We are not in collapse," Lugar said. "There are opportunities. This is not a time of over-confidence.

"Many citizens in our country are angry. But I'm an optimist. This is an exceptional country and the world still relies on us."

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I've always admired Senator Lugar, he's always seemed to work hard to make things better for Hoosiers. However, I don't agree with everything he and our other Representatives are proposing. The Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health is a great thing, but for many people the availability of a good doctor isn't the problem, it's being able to pay the bill that's the issue.

Medicare and Social Security are on the chopping block and we're going to see more and more people suffer and die because they're not wealthy. My wife and I have worked for a lot of years and have paid into these programs only to learn now, when we're getting close to a time that we may be able to utilize them, that they're probably not going to be there for us.

The United States Government can find funds to pursue wars across the globe and to offer aid to people thousands of miles away from our country but there isn't anything left for those of us who've been footing the bill. I don't know if President Obama's health care bill was the best plan or not. If it wasn't the best thing for the country, then our elected officials need to get busy and find something that works. The Republicans and Democrats need to stop pushing their own agendas long enough to save our country.

How can we find money to feed and heal people across Africa, the Middle East, South America, and so on and still have citizens of the United States going to bed hungry? Why are the people who built this country suffering from illnesses because they can't afford to buy their medication?

Please put aside the partisan bickering long enough to do the jobs you've been elected to do. This game of chicken has gone on long enough.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Tue, May 3, 2011, at 2:01 AM

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