Residents vent at town meeting with Bass

WILTON – There is no way to control Congress, lawmakers are totally out of touch and need to get the deficit under control, reduce spending and control taxes.

Those were some of the comments made to U.S. Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., on Wednesday while he was holding one of his town meetings, a chance to meet one-on-one with constituents and learn their concerns. About 20 area residents accepted the invitation. The meeting lasted about an hour.

“Congress doesn’t have a clue about the American people,” Lyndeborough resident Jim McEntee said, noting the number of millionaires in the Senate.

Questions and comments were mainly concerned with the proposed prescription drug plan for seniors, foreign workers taking local jobs, and funding for special education.

The lack of promised federal funds for special education came in for a lot of comment.

The special education program is “court-driven,” Bass said, with the courts making most of the decisions. There are three problems with the program, he added, “Over-authorization, school districts required to pay for noneducational services and the funding level.”

There is also, several residents noted, no requirement for services for gifted students.

Wilton resident Tim Farrell said, “The disruptive child is the one who gets the attention at the expense of the well-behaved.”

Another person commented, “If you don’t take care of the gifted child, you will soon have another disruptive one.”

Bass agreed “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” and added that full federal funding of 40 percent of the average costs is one of his particular interests. The funding is now 20 percent, up from 4 percent a few years ago.

“I am working on it,” he said.

The proposed Medicare bill was not seen by residents as being of any great help to senior citizens. Bass said he was not familiar with all parts of it.

The perceived loss of high-tech jobs to imported foreign workers was seen as a big concern, and the complaint was made that companies advertise for local workers, as required by the law, but do so only to fulfill the spirit of that law, while hiring the cheaper foreign people.

Bass said he would look into that.