By NIKKI YOUNK
FLORENCE, Wis. - U.S. Representative Sean Duffy, R-Hayward, stopped in Florence on Thursday afternoon as part of his town hall tour through Wisconsin's Seventh Congressional District.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Hayward, addresses the attendees of his town hall meeting in Florence on Thursday. Duffy heard residents’ concerns on a variety of topics.
About 10 residents attended the meeting to voice their concerns on issues such as the Affordable Care Act, welfare fraud, and Wisconsin's national forest system.
Regarding the Affordable Care Act, Duffy said that although he has talked to some people who are pleased with their new insurance, far more have had complaints.
"They had good insurance with an affordable plan," he said. "Now they're paying more for insurance they don't need with deductibles they can't afford."
One attendee informed Duffy that the Affordable Care Act was the only way he was able to obtain insurance with a pre-existing condition. He said that his new insurance saved him money and allowed him to keep his doctor.
Duffy agreed that the government should have helped people who could not get insurance, but he felt that everyone else should have been able to keep the insurance plans that worked for them.
Another attendee expressed concern about welfare fraud, which he felt was a growing problem in Florence County. He claimed that he knew people who were working, but still collecting government money.
Duffy said that he wants to reform the system to require all able-bodied adults who receive food stamps to get a job, obtain training, or volunteer. However, he said that opponents have made it seem like he is trying to take benefits away from truly needy people.
Other attendees asked about management of national forests like the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in western Florence County.
Duffy said that since northern Wisconsin has a logging-based economy, there should be adequate cuts in the national forest in order to keep businesses in the region. He added that he is trying to pass legislation to open up the forest to more logging.
Other issues that Duffy touched on included the federal budget, Medicare funding, and foreign aid.
Overall, Duffy felt that the town hall meeting was successful in allowing him to directly speak with his constituents.
"This district is such a big area and it's important to hear opinions, to get both sides," he said. "We had a really good debate here."
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.