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Tulsi’s Kona town hall pure shell game

April 16, 2017 - 12:05am

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard confirmed at the April 11 Kona town hall meeting that 1) she is a skilled manager and manipulator of audiences; 2) that she has a remarkable command of the issues and 3) that her legislative accomplishments as Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District Representative since 2013 are negligible.

Rep. Gabbard together with her staff and a moderator successfully orchestrated a town hall meeting of limited substance and no controversy.

She began by discussing issues like health care with which most of the audience agreed. She spent the balance of the meeting answering questions submitted by an overflowing crowd.

The first-floor question went to Orthodox Minister John Schroedel. Rather than question Ms. Gabbard about critical Syrian issues, Rev. Schroedel praised Tulsi for her support of the Syrian people. Incredibly, no other Syrian question regarding Gabbard’s mysterious visit to Syria, provocative meeting with President Assad, involvement of Trump in her Syria trip or her recent public outrage over the bombing of Syria were allowed!

For the remainder of the program Tulsi answered queries from carefully selected questioners and blasé, written questions selected and read by the moderator. By the end of the program many bored participants had left the meeting.

Rep. Gabbard’s command of legislative issues and limited accomplishments were illustrated by a question regarding Hawaii’s medical doctor shortage. She immediately recalled learning during her 2012 campaign that Medicaid pays doctors in Hawaii less than they do in other states. She was able to cite how much payments for specific medical procedures in Hawaii differed from California and Alaska.

Rep. Gabbard, however, did not explain why she has not addressed this problem during her five years in Congress nor did she suggest that she will ever be able to address it.

In conclusion, what promised to be a productive town hall meeting with our congressional representative at this critical political juncture was disappointing to say the least.

Ron Gillespie is a resident of Kailua-Kona

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