By Lorri Ooley
A leading concern entering into this year’s election is determining whether or not government-elected officials are truly in tune and in touch with those they represent, as expressed in the lowest approval rating since 1974 of 16 percent (Gallup). On his most recent visit to Sierra County on Monday, Aug. 18, Congressman Steve Pearce proves nothing works better at addressing such concerns than time spent in person, in the communities. As such, he met with a broad spectrum of residents, listening to their individual stories and concerns. Furthermore, Pearce has a staff that not only supports his presence within New Mexico’s communities, but follows up with the individuals and their situations.
Hot topics in this year’s campaigns and elections will most likely be centered on the developments for the status of the nation’s finances, the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” the rise of undocumented immigrant children, and the military Veteran Affairs healthcare scandal.
Awareness for the issues of the people is not enough, and Rep. Pearce expresses his understanding that solutions for current and future situations need to be the driving focus. Conversations for such begin to get derailed when the focus is driven by political lines and differences, and Pearce maintains his focus on closing that political gap.
For New Mexico, a prime field for further development would be to reinvest in the state’s forestry. Pearce expressed his support for local governments and their legal quest to regain rights of the land. This move would allow for New Mexico to address its unique environmental needs, something that is not necessarily achieved through the current power placement in the U.S. Forest Service. If the local governments are successful, this would bring the logging industry back into the state. The solution appears to be a middle ground between recognizing the individual needs for the state, while also assuring that businesses do not return to over-working the land. At present, however, the environment remains ripe for fires, endangering all involved.
While the nation has not realized how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will ultimately affect and impact the infrastructure of healthcare and beyond, there are – however – positive affects received here in Sierra County. Several states have expanded the Medicaid coverage, under ACA, New Mexico being one of them, which has had a positive impact for those who would economically otherwise be unable to become insured. This, however, does not address those who fall between the low-end range of coverage, Medicaid, and the high-end range of private insurance coverage. Pearce’s solution is to re-address ACA, not only on the Constitutional premise, but also to bring much-needed medical coverage for those who are making too much and yet too little.
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