United States Senator Kelly Ayotte continues to keep her promise to hold town hall meetings across New Hampshire. Please take a moment to read excerpts from the Valley News article featuring her recent town hall meetings in Sullivan and Cheshire Counties. You can read the entire article by clicking here.
Ayotte: Let's Solve Problems
By Nora Doyle-Burr
In addition to altering the ACA, Ayotte said she hoped the upcoming legislative session, which begins today, would also include consideration of the nation's approach to energy - including the approval of the expansion of the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline known as Keystone XL - as well as continued scrutiny of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service.
"What is actually being done to hold (VA officials) accountable for (their) actions?" Charlestown's VFW Commander Tom St. Pierre asked. Ayotte said that some officials have been fired, following revelations that veterans were receiving poor care at some of the country's VA hospitals last year. A reform bill signed into law in August provided the secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert A. McDonald, with broader authority to fire people, Ayotte said.
An additional provision of that bill allows those who live more than 20 miles from a VA hospital and within states, like New Hampshire, without their own full-service VA hospitals to choose private medical services.
Ayotte said she hoped the legislation would "put the choice back in the hands of veterans."
As veterans have more options, Ayotte said, "the VA's going to have to up its game" to retain its patients.
Ayotte's proposals on health care were greeted by support from the audience.
Following the discussion, Charlestown Selectboard Chairwoman Brenda Ferland, who served in the New Hampshire House when Ayotte was New Hampshire's attorney general, said she liked Ayotte's answers to the challenges facing the country.
She said the town has struggled to keep part-time employees to fewer than 30 hours per week in order to avoid being forced to contribute to their health insurance premiums under the ACA. She is hopeful Ayotte's proposal to increase the workweek, as defined by the ACA, to 40 hours will protect the town's taxpayers from additional expenses.
"Washington is such a mess I don't know if she can get it done," he said. "God bless her for trying."
Following her visit to Charlestown, Ayotte made her way to Richmond, N.H., for an afternoon town hall meeting there. She planned to take an early flight back to Washington this morning.