By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 1, 2017, US Representative Terri Sewell (R-Selma) addressed a town hall in Birmingham hosted by State Representative Rolanda Hollis (D-Birmingham) about Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010) and other issues facing the Federal government. The town hall was held in Birmingham’s Guiding Light Church on John Rogers Drive. About 70 citizens were on hand to hear Sewell and the other participants on the panel on government.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) told the group: “There is no bigger issue facing our Federal government than healthcare.” “The House passed a terrible bill.” Sewell said that none of the bills considered by the Senate did anything other than kick differing numbers of people off of healthcare and they failed to address Medicaid.
Sewell said, “No one should go without quality healthcare It should not be a privilege.”
Sewell said, “The healthcare bill is not working like President Obama intended. It needs work.” Sewell said that while changes need to be made, the Republican Party and President Trump are working to undermine the law. Sewell said that President Trump is not spending any money advertising and promoting the program. “They talk about the healthcare bill imploding. It can only implode if they fail to fund it and promote it.”
Rep. Sewell also defended the unpopular individual mandate saying that for the law to be more stable everybody needs to be part of the risk pool including healthy people. Sewell said that there needs to be a reinsurance market so that the risk of high risk people is spread.
Sewell said that John McCain should be commended for voting against the skinny repeal bill and so should those two lady Republican Senators: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
Rep. Sewell said that she sits on the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating allegations that the Russians tried to interfere in the 2016 election and may have colluded with members of the Trump campaign. Sewell said, “Do not be fooled. I am here to tell you that the Russians at the highest levels interfered in the election.”
Rep. Sewell said that she has seen classified intelligence on the matter. “I cannot tell you what I know because I would have to kill you (laughter), but the Russian government did interfere. They wanted to sow a seed of discontent and make us lose faith in our elections. We need to learn exactly what they did, who helped them, and then we need to put in safeguards so they can never do it again.”
The Congresswoman warned that “Our election system is hackable not just by sovereign states, but also be rogue private hackers.”
Sewell said that her office releases a weekly guide to grants. There is information there on how you can apply for grants. “We can also get you a letter from your Congresswoman supporting your grant application. We sponsor annual grant writing workshops. Getting grants is a lifeline for non-profits and out local governments as well. “We all pay our taxes and we should make sure that our tax dollars are available to our community.”
Sewell said, “It is my honor and privilege to represent the Seventh District in the US Congress. I represent Birmingham and parts of Tuscaloosa: including the University of Alabama, Stillman, and West Tuscaloosa. I share Tuscaloosa with Congressman Aderholt. I also represent the western part of Montgomery. Three Congress members split Montgomery. The district also includes: Midfield, Tarrant, Bessemer, my hometown of Selma, and large swaths of the Black Belt.”
Sewell said that on his way out of office, President Barack Obama (D) made the Birmingham Civil Rights Monument a National Park so that that history can be preserved for future generations.
Sewell told participants to contact her office for Capital tours, White House tours, etc. “The most rewarding thing we do is casework. Too many of our veterans come back and are denied the benefits that they earned. If you are denied disability or Social Security and think that you were wrongly denied, we can try to help you.”
Sewell said that she has offices in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Selma, Montgomery, as well as smaller satellite offices.
Guiding Light Church is pastored by Bishop Jim Lowe.