12-19-2019 Columns

Zachary Smith named Eagle Scout

On June 15, 2019, the Frederick H. Hackeman Camp 85 (Buchanan) of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War presented Eagle Scout certificate and patch to new Eagle Scout of Troop 696 of Coloma/ Watervliet. Zachary Smith received his Eagle Scout rank at a ceremony at the First Congregational Church in Coloma. Making the presentation for the Frederick H. Hackeman Camp 85 was camp Commander Steven Williams of Coloma. Zack is a 17-year-old student in the 11th grade at Watervliet High School. His is the son of Nicki and Ray Smith.

HOIST THE JOISTS… Workers at Hartford’s Art and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center are hustling to get the new facility under roof before serious winter weather sets in, allowing interior work to continue keeping in step with a target to complete the building near the end of June 2020. The center will be the new home of the Hartford Public Library, the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society, and includes multi-purpose community rooms available to the general public. The site is also planned to serve as the new polling site for City of Hartford voters in the November election. Donations are being sought to provide the fine touches to the project. Those wishing to support the cause may do so by calling the library directly at (269) 621-3408 or contribute online by visiting www.hartfordpl.michlibrary.org. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

We need bipartisan legislation to lower the costs of prescription drugs

Last week, House Democrats passed their drug pricing legislation – H.R. 3. I voted against it. While we all agree we need to tackle the rising costs of prescription drugs, H.R. 3 simply is not the right answer, for a number of reasons. First, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this bill will stifle innovation resulting in fewer life-saving cures for the American people. In fact, the Council of Economic Advisers estimate that we could lose up to 100 new drugs, or even more. Furthermore, with divided government, the only way to pass a bill into law is by working in a bipartisan manner. H.R. 3 is a partisan bill that was drafted with no input from Republicans. It won’t become law, and we’ll be stuck with the same problem of rising drug costs. I support the bill’s alternative, H.R. 19. This bill includes only bipartisan provisions which would pass now and immediately begin helping patients. H.R. 19 would lower drug costs while allowing biotech to continue innovating on new cures for the world’s worst diseases. In this coming year, I’d like to see H.R. 19 offered, debated, and voted on. I believe this is important legislation that could help patients today. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/ Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

Local news matters

On Wednesday, Dec. 11 the Michigan House of Representatives adjourned for the year after passing a flurry of bills including a bipartisan budget deal. This was a huge win for the people of Southwest Michigan and reversed many of the Governor’s vetoes that would have negatively impacted our community. As we wind down for the holidays and prepare for the New Year, I looked back at my first year in office and evaluated the best ways I was able to communicat