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Faso to meet voters in Esopus; health care discussion imminent

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    U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, talks with Greene County Republican Committee Chairman Brent Bogardus and a resident during the 25th annual GOP picnic. Faso will be holding a town hall event at the Esopus Town Hall on Aug. 31 for an audience of 200.
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    U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, speaks with constituents after the “Across the Aisle” discussion at Marist College in Poughkeepsie on April 21. Faso’s town hall event in Esopus on Aug. 31 will be his first en masse meeting with constituents since his televised town hall meeting in April.
August 12, 2017 12:04 am Updated: September 11, 2017 03:43 pm

U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19, will be holding a public town hall meeting in Esopus, Ulster County, for 200 people Aug. 31.

The meeting will be the first en masse town hall Faso will have with constituents since the televised town hall in April, which followed a tele-town hall in March.

The meeting will be held in the Esopus Town Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m., with 60 tickets handed out at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.

Faso will distribute 70 tickets at his discretion and Move Forward New York, the activist group hosting the town hall, will distribute 70 tickets.

“In May, some folks from Move Forward New York approached me about doing a joint town hall event to hear from constituents in an organized and civil forum,” Faso said. “Since then, our offices have been collaborating to plan and hammer out details for the event. Our last town hall event in April was a big success, and I look forward to engaging on the serious issues facing our district and our nation.”

Dr. Gerald Benjamin from SUNY New Paltz and Debra Clinton of Move Forward New York will moderate the event. Audience members will write and submit questions for Faso when they sign in.

Faso will deliver 10 minutes of opening remarks, which will be followed by the question-and-answer session from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Most of the questions and concerns are expected to be about health care reform and Faso’s vote for the controversial American Health Care Act.

Since the failure of the Republican leadership in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Faso has begun working with Democrats to make bipartisan changes to the existing legislation.

“I would ask [Faso] how he expects New York and local governments to foot the bill for the health care cuts in the legislation,” said Nadia Bedard, of Ghent. “For all the federal money pulled from important programs.”

The proposed bills that both houses pushed would reduce increases in federal Medicaid spending and would stop federal spending for clinics such as Planned Parenthood.

“It’s about time he met voters face to face. It’s confusing to me why an elected official would not hold regular town halls. It is important especially for a small community like up here,” said Dr. Jean-Marc Oppenheim, of Saugerties. “Medical coverage is my primary concern. I would ask him what he plans to do with Democrats to make the ACA better.”

One Greene County resident said what Faso hears at the meeting and the actions he takes based on what he hears could be altogether different.

“If he listens to us, that’s great,” said K. Matta, of Catskill. “I hope he will listen to the people rather than the money. I wish our representatives would listen to the people more than corporations.”

Rodney Greenblat said he thinks it is about time Faso held a town hall in the Columbia-Greene area.

“I wish he would dialogue with Catskill and Hudson more, I think it would do him good,” Greenblat said. “I saw him in the Fourth of July parade and I heard his interview on WGXC, but I have never met him. I wish he would distance himself more from the president.”

No signage will be allowed in the building for security reasons.