High Country Forward Holds Tea and Cookies Event

Published Monday, March 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm

One hundred constituents from North Carolina’s 5th District met in Boone at an “Invite Foxx to Tea and Cookies” town hall to discuss education, healthcare, and other pressing national issues without their congresswoman, who was invited but did not attend. Virginia Foxx did speak to the Watauga County GOP at the Watauga County Courthouse immediately before the Tea and Cookies event which was held at F.A.R.M. Cafe just two blocks away in downtown Boone. The event was  organized by a newly formed, grassroots civic engagement group, High Country Forward.

Kathy Parham, an organizer with High Country Forward, led off the event, while Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz (sitting to Parham’s right) moderated the event. Photo by Lonnie Webster

Organizers said they  invited Foxx to a nonpartisan, informal reception  to learn more about the House Committee on Education and Workforce, the powers of her chairmanship, and what bills are expected to emerge from the committee.  After several invitations for Foxx or for a member of her staff to attend, her staff did send a one page statement which was shared at the event. Members of HCF also compiled information on upcoming legislation and Foxx’s voting record. Some attendees noted that Foxx’s statement contained very little information.

One hundred constituents attended and 25 people spoke at the 90 minute event. Speakers to ranged from retirees to a high student and included veterans, retired teachers, business people, parents and one candidate to challenge Virginia Foxx in the next election, Jenny Marshall.

Greg McClure criticized H.R. 610, especially the provision in the bill for using school vouchers for private schools, saying that private schools are not held accountable to the same standards as public schools including criminal background checks.

McClure noted that the bill is being presented under the idea of parents having choices regarding the education of their child.

“Who can argue against parents having a choice about their children’s education? The problem with the discourse here is that the free market principle of choice and competition is the driving foundation of this program,” McClure said. “Schools, children, learning, humans are not things that are inherently made better through competition. Encouraging teachers and children to compete against one another for resources to improve student’s test scores very rarely works out in our best interests.”

He quoted from private school textbooks already receiving public funds from a North Carolina program called Opportunity Scholarships: “‘God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ.’”

Boone parent and teacher Alyssa Hogan said that as a parent of a son with special needs she knows how important protections like Individual Education Plans for are for kids like her child, “All I want to say Virginia Foxx is that say to that as someone who has represented this district for so long  she should know better than vote against anything that protects our education.”

Local physician Marshall  Murrey described a patient with a deadly constellation of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and sleep apnea that he saw went from “absolutely uncontrolled” to “perfectly controlled” once the patient was able access health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, “He told me ‘this is saving my life. What am I going to do if they take away my Obamacare?’ I couldn’t tell him the truth on that, I said, ‘I don’t know’ but I do know. In a year he’ll be back where he was.”

Murrey encouraged those in power to “not throw away” the Affordable Care Act.

“One of the biggest challenges we have whether people have insurance or not is trying to figure out how to affordably take care of them in both diagnosing, prescribing and evaluating them,” Murrey said. “Even if they have insurance it’s still a challenge, but if we don’t it’s almost impossible to have quality healthcare.”

Murrey wrapped up his comments to great applause by adding, “My eventual hope is we’ll have universal healthcare and single-payer at some point, but this is what we have for now. Let’s keep it and not throw it away.”

Other concerns raised included redistricting, Russian interference in U.S. elections, roll back of clean water protections, and the proposed increase in military spending.

Declared Democratic candidate for the 5th District Jenny Marshall introduced herself and made a comment that as a teacher, she felt that Foxx’s positions on education were “abhorrent.”  Organizers noted that while they welcomed her participation as a citizen in the open forum, this was a nonpartisan event focused on issues.

Ray Russell of the regionally popular website, Ray’s Weather, asked, “How many of you are here because you are concerned about the tone, tenor, and content of the last election cycle? How many of you are here because you are concerned or even afraid for yourselves or your family members because of the events and policies of the new administration? How many of you are here because you fear that there is damage being done and damage that will be done and you are afraid of the country your children or your grandchildren are going to live in after these next four years?”

After asking several of these type questions, Russell concluded, “I am so proud of the people in this room. I am so proud of the people I marched with in Raleigh and so proud of the people my daughter marched with in Washington, D.C. I will say that I am going to do my doggonest to make sure somebody here doesn’t go unopposed in an election.”

Virginia Foxx was spotted by a Tea attendee, Cathy Williamson, on King Street just before the event but the Representative did not respond when spoken to and walked hurriedly away.  Her Twitter feed showed that she chatted with surprised shoppers in West Jefferson during the time of the Boone event.

Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz served as the moderator for the nonpartisan discussion.  

Readers interested in viewing a recorded stream of the event can find it at https://www.facebook.com/highcountryforward/.

High Country Forward is a recently formed grassroots civic engagement group operating via email and on Facebook. The next public meeting of the group will beTuesday, March 21st from 7-9 pm at the Watauga County Public Library.

In permitting use of its premises, the F.A.R.M. Cafe does not necessarily support or endorse the philosophy of the user group.

For more comments by those quoted above and to hear many more comments from others at the event, watch the entire video above. See Foxx’s statement below.


Statement from U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx for Tea and Cookies Event

March 4, 2017

H.R. 610, H.R. 899 and H.R. 1072

Each session there are thousands of bills introduced. At this time, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has not taken a close look at these legislative proposals. If you have specific thoughts on any of these bills, I encourage you to contact me with your opinion at http://foxx.house.gov/contact. I read and answer all my own mail. In my mind, a personal letter from me should be considered the very best forum because having the questions in writing ensures a thorough, specific and accurate response.

Health Care

We are at a crossroads right now when it comes to our nation’s health care. People — through no fault of their own — are experiencing pain and havoc created by Obamacare, and the only responsible thing to do is provide relief. We simply cannot continue down the unsustainable path we are on and sit back and watch as this fundamentally flawed law collapses under its own weight.

We must change course. That’s why House Republicans are on a rescue mission not only to save families struggling under Obamacare, but also to deliver the meaningful health care reforms the American people have demanded for years. We will replace this flawed law and provide step-by-step solutions that give families more control and more options.

All Americans should be able to choose the health care plan that best fits their needs — not one dictated to them by Washington bureaucrats. We will expand options for employers who want to provide their employees with coverage and promote a healthy workforce. We will ensure protections for those who are most vulnerable so that — regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances — everyone will have access to high-quality health care that is truly affordable.

We have only just begun this process to deliver relief for families and small businesses being hurt by Obamacare. However, through these meaningful reforms, we will fix our broken health care system and provide a pathway to better, affordable care for all Americans.

Russia

Our nation’s foreign policy must uphold our national interest and be free of manipulation by foreign governments. It will interest you to learn that both the Senate and House Intelligence committees are currently investigating whether Russia has acted to manipulate the Trump administration. Thorough investigations take time and it is critically important that we have and understand all the facts. This is a lengthy and extensive undertaking, and we must be patient and support the work that the various committees and their staff are doing to uncover the truth. You can follow the progress of these committees on their websites at https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/ and https://intelligence.house.gov/.  


Photos of Tea and Cookies Event

Photos by Ken Ketchie

Photos by Lonnie Webster

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

 

NC 5th Congressional District citizens speak to AWOL Rep. Virginia Foxx in Boone NC.

Comments

comments

Privacy Policy | Rights & Permissions | Discussion Guidelines

Website Management by Outer Banks Media