Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trivedi Teletownhall

Dr Manan Trivedi, Democratic candidate for the 6th congressional district held a teletownhall meeting on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. I listened in and these are my notes from the call. They are not intended as a complete transcript. As always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

MT: Hello and welcome. I’m an Iraq War veteran and primary care doctor running for Congress.

survey: what counties are people calling from: Berks, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery (counties that are in part included in the 6th congressional district)

I was born and raised in Berks County.. Proud product of the public schools. Went to college and medical school in Boston then joined the Navy. [blogger’s note: the connection was lost at this point and it took a minute or two to re-connect so I missed part of his biography]

My #1 focus is to promote job growth.

survey: what is your most important issue: jobs, social security, Wall Street reform, clean energy, health care, foreign policy / veterans issues

Q: getting close to retirement, paid into social security, now they’re telling me they’re going to reduce benefits or make me work longer?

MT: This is an important issues, a promise to all generations. I’ve pledged not to cut benefits or increase age. My mom is in her late 60’s. We need to stop borrowing from the trust fund.

Q: What do you propose to do about job growth. Every politician had platforms that go nowhere.

MT: My #1 focus is jobs. We need to get the economy on track. My parents worked at an apple juice company. They lost their jobs when the factory closed and their pensions were raided. My #1 focus is small businesses that want to grow. The industry of the future is clean energy. Make sure those are American jobs not foreign jobs. My wife went to MIT. Many of the people who when to school with her and work with these issues say we can do it. Infrastructure – We need better infrastructure. Route 422 is a parking lot at rush hour. We need light rail. It isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue but an American issue.

Q: What are you planning to do for Veterans and do about the Iraq War?

MT: We need to do more for our veterans. Right now these guys are spread too thin. Use metrics – are we going in the right direction. We should take care of our veterans. issues like post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are very real and need to be addressed. We need to make the process easier.

Q: Are you from here? [incumbent Republican Jim] Gerlach says you aren’t.

MT: These are lies. I was born and raised in Berks County. Born in Reading, raised in Fleetwood. I was away on active duty in Iraq and proud of my service. Proud to be back here know and raising a family here.

Q: People are hurting really bad around here. What are your ideas; how will you create jobs?

MT: It is my #1 issue. Our website ( has my comprehensive jobs plan. It focuses on small business, clean energy, infrastructure, cracking down on illegal immigrants, and ending tax credits to businesses that move jobs overseas.

Q: How will you make sure Wall Street never does this to us again?

MT: This is a mess. These Washington guys take beaucoup bucks form these [Wall St] guys. When there’s trouble they bail out their buddies. This is a problem that affects everyone. We need to keep better track of these, more transparency.

Q: Deficit. Balance budget. As a freshman how will you get Pelosi’s attention?

MT: We need more fiscal discipline in Washington. I’m proposing a pay cut for members of Congress. Cut the fat in the federal budget. Start with not renewing tax cuts for top 2%. End tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs. Look at the rest of the budget. Listen to the suggestions of Defense Secretary Gates regarding what can be cut in Defense. As for Pelosi, I’m not going to lie and say freshman congressman can change the world. In medicine we look at evidence based medicine. We need evidence based policies in Washington. See what works to fix the economy.

Q: We should take care of our country first and not send so much money overseas.

MT: We need to invest in American and American jobs. Focus more of our resources in America. Shouldn’t give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

Survey: If you like what you’ve heard and want to get involved press 1.

Q: I recently read that you want to turn more health care over to the government.

MT: I’m not in favor of socialized medicine. The new health care reform law is not socialized medicine. I am in favor of the bill but it needs improvement. We need to get costs under control. 30% of what we do in medicine doesn’t make any difference at all. If we can get that down, cut excessive tests, it will save money. Incentivize best practices.

Q: My mother is an 8th grade English teacher. A new bill on teacher accountability is based on assessment. My mom has learning support children. Their scores are lower than the students in other classes.

MT: This is a big issue. There is not better investment that education. [blogger’s note: I missed who he is quoting] “If you want to know what the economy will like in 20 years, look at education today.” We shouldn’t encourage teachers to teach to the test. My best teachers made me think outside the box. Teacher assessment can’t be just be test scores.

Q: War in terrorism. 5K were killed at the World Trade Center but 4.8 million (??) have died from smoking. cost / benefit, guns vs butter.

MT: I’m not a pacifist. War is necessary. I served in Iraq. We are spending excessively on Iraq. We could have spent that $ on health care or education. We should support the Dept. of Defense but not spend frivolously. We need to spend more on health care and education.

Trivedi ended the call with a Phillies update and told those who did not have a chance to ask a question to leave a message at the end of the call or go to the website,

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