Bergman answer during call-in concerning

I am writing to express my concern about a response our Congressman, Jack Bergman gave during his phone-in town hall meeting on Tuesday evening. A questioner asked Bergman about his position on the President’s proposed budget cuts to the EPA, NOAA and Great Lakes programs. Bergman responded that he thought the water monitoring and compliance oversight should be done by local and state agencies.

Why would the Congressman take this position when the geography of the Great Lakes means that we share this invaluable source of fresh water with many states and another country? We must demand that our federal government protect this natural resource, and our Congressman needs to take the lead in defending the need for federal tax dollars to adequately support the agencies that provide this protection.

The person who asked that question, along with all other questioners during the phone-in event, was not given an opportunity to follow up with a response to Congressman Bergman’s position. That was a good example of why the phone-in format is unacceptable for adequate communication between the Congressman and the people he is supposed to be representing. He has said that he has to study the issues to be prepared to respond to constituents’ concerns. If he’s not getting feedback from people about what he is currently thinking, he’s not representing us.

I’m certain that I am not the only person in the 1st Congressional district who thinks that a 97 percent cut in funding to programs that protect the Great Lakes is unacceptable. Our fresh water is the backbone of our economy in Northern Michigan and necessary for our survival as a species on this planet.

Patty Thomas