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Michigan Nurses To Hold Town Hall Meetings "In Lawmakers' Absence"

November 14, 2011

MIDLAND, Mich. - They tried to make an appointment, but say they were denied, so Michigan nurses are taking matters into their own hands, holding two town hall meetings this evening near the offices of Michigan Congressmen Fred Upton and Dave Camp. The nurses say they have repeatedly asked the two delegates to the Super Committee to hold open forums and hear what residents have to say about the critical decisions they face - namely, how to cut more than $1 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years.

John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association, says there has been no response.

"They've both been incognito, it seems to us, over the past several weeks, choosing to meet with groups that they choose to meet with but not listening to people in their districts."

Spokespeople from both representatives' offices say they take their constituents' concerns very seriously and have been actively soliciting input on the deficit reduction plan.

As a partial solution, the Michigan Nurses Association is urging lawmakers to consider a small tax on Wall Street transactions, which Karebian says would preserve many of the programs now at risk in the hands of the Super Committee.

"We believe if there was a transaction tax it would raise billions of dollars, avoid devastating cuts to services and also start repairing the damage Wall Street has caused in our communities."

The town hall meetings both begin at 6 p.m., one in Midland at the Whiting Forest Vistor's Center, and one at the Kalamazoo Public Library. Both lawmakers have been made aware of the meetings, but so far there is no word on whether they will attend.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI