Phinizy continues to listen as he visits with Claremont seniors at Bourdon Centre
Site of the historic '95 Clinton-Gingrich Handshake
CLAREMONT - Rep. Jay Phinizy, D-Acworth was still listening to voters in his run for the State Senate seat in District 8 when he toured the Earl M. Bourdon Senior Centre recently. Longtime Claremont resident and Democrat, Arthur Palmer introduced Phinizy as they were joined by Matt Kennedy, a staff member for the Obama, D-Ill. Presidential campaign who is focusing his efforts on senior outreach. Kennedy is the grandson of Robert and Ethel Kennedy and is working in New Hampshire for Obama and other Democratic candidates.
The Bourdon Centre was the site of the now famous handshake between President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995. Although the commission to reform campaign financing that Clinton and Gingrich shook hands on never materialized, it has not daunted the political involvement of Centre residents and other seniors. Phinizy was eager to hear what these savvy seniors want from their State Senator in Concord.
Phinizy has a reputation for getting out in front on pressing issues. In July he put forth a plan to assist middle income families in dealing with rising energy costs. He offered an amendment to legislation in September to increase funding of the Governor's and Legislature's fuel assistance proposal. Phinizy's idea is similar to one recently put forth by Connecticut's governor providing anyone over 65 and in the median income level with fuel assistance. Phinizy's plan would use $20 million of the rainy day fund for fuel assistance and the home weatherization program. $10 million would be utilized for interest-free loans for five years for fuel saving home improvements.
Phinizy's plan would also have brought additional funding to the Meals on Wheels program serving seniors and home-bound citizens.
Phinizy listened as seniors recounted the additional concerns they have about the increasing costs of fuel, food and medications. Phinizy paid a special visit to Barbara Von Boltzer. The two had met previously and gotten better acquainted over Von Boltzer's home made doughnuts. Von Boltzer shared with Phinizy her challenge to pay for her asthma medications when under her current health insurance she hits what is commonly known as the "doughnut hole" in her coverage. That is when the insured must assume full cost of medications until "catastrophic" levels of expenditures are reached at which point insurance companies will again pick up some of the cost. For Von Boltzer costs rise from $32 to $192 for her asthma medication while she is in the doughnut hole.
"Individuals like her are not looking for a hand out. They're just not getting a fair deal," Phinizy said. "If I get into the senate, I will actively pursue a better health care program. We have to revamp the health care systems because New Hampshire has danced around issues of health care. That has to change."
Phinizy has a proven 10-year record of leadership in the New Hampshire House where he has introduced or sponsored more than 60 pieces of legislation that have become law. Many of these bills have been the direct result of listening to constituents and responding with effective solutions. He plans to take that desire to listen and find the ways that work to the Senate.
Kennedy pointed out to Von Boltzer that Sen. Obama is proposing a health care plan that will help meet the needs of seniors faced with the tough choices she is dealing with.
"Obama's plan will help seniors and close the doughnut hole. People shouldn't have to decide between food and medicine and other necessities to survive, Kennedy said."
Phinizy is the Democratic State Senate candidate for District 8 which includes the city of Claremont and the towns of Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Gilsum, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, New London, Newbury, Newport, Roxbury, Stoddard, Sullivan, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Washington, Westmoreland.