U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) met with Reston residents Saturday at Lake Anne Coffee House to hear concerns from the community. About 60 people attended the event, dubbed “Java with Jim,” which overlapped the Reston Multicultural Festival.
Moran spent nearly three hours talking to Reston residents at the event, which was scheduled to last two hours.
Discussion, which covered several different policy areas, concentrated on the federal government’s response to the devastation left by the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
When asked about the national effort to help evacuees, Moran acknowledged that more should have been done. “We failed at the national level, there’s no question in my mind,” he said. He noted that the executive branch and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were largely to blame for the failure. He emphasized that government at every level needs to look forward and be better prepared for future man-made or natural disasters.
“Last year, for the first time in 37 years, we didn’t spend one dime in New Orleans on those levees, not one dime,” said Moran. “It’s because we were saving money for the tax cuts and the war in Iraq.” Moran added that had some of the wetlands in the Gulf Coast been better protected, some of the hurricane’s impact might have been mitigated.
THE WAR IN IRAQ was also an issue brought up by members of the audience.
“I was opposed to going into Iraq in the first place,” said Moran, which caused the audience to applaud. “It was obvious it was going to be costly and take a substantial amount of American lives.”
Moran added that he was responsible for adding language to an appropriations bill that included a strategy for withdrawal, but said he didn’t think it would be anytime soon.
“Now, we’re left with an intractable situation, and I don’t know how we can meet the lofty goals set by President Bush,” he said.
In an emotional moment, answering a question about health care from a medical student, Moran told how his daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor after nine months of being told she had the flu. Moran said the insurance would not pay for an MRI, which he finally had done and paid for out of pocket.
“I mention that because it was not the doctor's fault. Doctors go into the profession to save lives,” said Moran. “But I do think economics play too large a role in health care decisions. Now many decisions are made from a business standpoint.”
Moran went on to endorse universal healthcare for children. “We’re probably not going to see universal healthcare in our lifetimes, but one thing we should do is to provide universal health care for every child in America,” he said. “It would be a major victory to provide it to children.”
— Jason Hartke