Something happened recently that reveals a lot about our representative in Congress, Lynn Woolsey.
Lucky's Market in Fairfax has long been used by local civic groups to pitch their candidate, petition or to sell Girl Scout cookies. Most neighborhoods have such a place. Though not where you see the big names. They're where politics meets the pavement.
So there's Congresswoman Woolsey herself, by herself, handing out flyers. A few days before, I'd seen her on C-SPAN.
I was seriously impressed with her advance team. The connection between Washington and hometown was made. Needless to say, this reporter grabbed the opportunity for an interview.
KN: I'd like to ask you questions about Congress that affect us all. Liberals have been vilified for years. Is there any change in Republicans' and Centralist Democrats' reaction to you recently? In other words, are Liberal ideals finding a new voice in government?
LW: Do you mean representatives like me from districts like mine? If we hadn't been in Washington during the past two years, the Congress would have taken a much farther swing to the right. So we play a very important role in Congress.
KN: What's the most effective way constituents can make their voice heard?
LW: By voting. By studying the issues carefully and making informed decisions at the polls. Also, communicating their views to their representative.
KN: I want to plug getting out the vote. Please explain how your policy decisions are determined by voter demographics.
LW: Let's put it this way. When people didn't vote in '94, look what we got. A very right-wing Congress that wanted to destroy our government. By registering and making sure you vote, we'll actually have a kinder, gentler government.
KN: You and I share the experience of having once been AFDC recipients. These families have taken the brunt of vicious attacks monetarily as well as mentally. How do we assure families get payments with the coming block grants? Can states cut benefits willy-nilly?
LW: I worked very hard on a welform package that would have insured children were not made vulnerable. The bill we passed was a real disappointment. It's weak on work and tough on children. On your second question, states will have a much greater ability to cut back. The guarantees have been removed, so it's up to the states now.
KN: Is anything being done nationally to protect small, local businesses from the onslaught of national conglomerates?
LW: I was a small business person myself. I understand their problems. So I voted to provide $7 billion in tax relief to businesses growing and investing in their employees. And I voted for tax relief for the self-employed.
It's really important to me to keep up the fight for small businesses. I'm working to reduce governmental paperwork and eliminate much of the bureaucracy. And to make it easier for them to obtain the necessary capital to survive and expand.
KN: The environment is a high priority with American voters. What have you been able to do?
LW: I have a bill to expand the Pt. Reyes National Seashore and to protect productive agriculture lands. I now have a letter in to President Clinton signed by 110 bi-partisan House members. It asks to protect our coast from offshore oil drilling permanently. Clinton could do this by executive order.
KN: How do we write in support?
LW: Write to the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue urging the issuing of an executive order in banning offshore oil drilling. That'll work.
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