Jean Marie Christenson, Rep. Adam Smith & Bettye Johnson
Photo courtesy of Ms. Christenson
A VIEW FROM THE HILL
Last week I flew to Washington D.C. to attend Congressman Adam Smiths 2007 Ninth District Day, held on May 17. I had no expectations other than this was a new adventure for me stepping outside of my box. The breakfast/meeting/lunch began at 8:30 a.m. in the House Caucus Room in the Cannon House Building. There were approximately 150 of us attending this speaker meeting. Briefly I will list the names of the speakers and I was pleasantly surprised with the people Smith selected. Smith serves on the Armed Services Committee and is chairman of the Anti-Terrorism sub-committee. The following were the speakers with a brief description. The Washington State Ninth District encompasses Yelm, Rainier, Tacoma and parts of Pierce County.
*-Senator Patty Murray spoke on the shortcomings of the VA to take care of returning service personnel and many with severe mental disabilities. She also addressed the concerns of governors of many states regarding the National Guard who have been sent to Iraq for more than one tour of duty and when they return, their equipment remains in Iraq. The governors realize their states are vulnerable when it comes to disasters. I wondered why she voted to extend the Iraqi war and will send her an email.
*-Senator Maria Cantwell who was late in arriving and spoke for seven minutes spoke on working for fewer tax breaks for the oil industry and more for alternative energy and energy efficiency. I also wondered why she voted to extend the Iraq war and am sending her an email addressing this.
*-President and CEO of In-Q-Tel, an investment company for the C.I.A. whose purpose is to seek out new and innovative technology from all over the world. One can draw her/his own conclusions.
*-Vice Admiral Eric Olsoni, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, which was created about 8 years ago to bring under one umbrella all branches of the military, including the Coast Guard, the covert operations segments of each branch. The most important thing I learned is that there are covert personnel in 54 different countries and I have an idea that most of these countries are predominantly of the Muslim faith.
*- Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago and Chairman of the Democratic Caucus. His job is to assess the pluses and minuses of the Democratic Party. He stated that in the last election there were 30 women nationwide running for office and all were eligible and had financial backing. They all lost. His assessment is that the mindset of the voters concerned about illegal aliens/immigration is that women would be too soft and give in to welfare, food stamps, and medical coverage.
*-Chuck Todd, Political Director and On-Air Analyst for NBC News. Most important statement he made was regarding the Republican Party: The Republicans think this is a World War against Muslims.
*-Bruce Hoffman, Professor at Georgetown University whose expertise is terrorism. The Al Aquida works in small cells with a 3-prong agenda: Change/Adjust/Overcome. This includes the Muslim world. U.S. has failed because of using an established mind-set towards the Iraqis. The U.S. will never win the war in Iraq and needs a new paradigm/strategy. The insurgents will always find a way around technology. U.S. needs more communication components to counteract hate.
*-Mark Warner, former Governor of Virginia. A brilliant statesman who inherited a deficit of $6 billion when he took office. Four years later, he left office with Virginia having a surplus. He used innovative methods. Warner impressed me with his assessment of the world situation. He is pro-environment and travels now all over the world. The world has moved beyond Iraq and he is being asked what is America doing about global warming. He said that the U.S. has lost its set of values. Suggest going to his website.
*-Dr. Susan E. Rice, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings Institute. She is a brilliant woman whose emphasis is ending world hunger and poverty. She said that values and security need to be brought into alignment.
My assessment is that Smith is drawing people to him that he can learn from or can advise him. I was impressed with his selection of speakers. I gained a different perspective. There is a spark of hope and I encourage the use of emails to express ones views to our national representatives and also to our state representatives.
Mrs. Johnson is a Rainer resdient & award-winning author of Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls.