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Inslee’s coffee talk fills community center

People came from all across the western side of Washington’s 1st Congressional District on Saturday morning for a cup of Starbuck’s Coffee and to listen to U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee talk about every subject they could think up.

“I’m here for your questions, ideas and soft criticisms,” said Inslee to the standing-room-only crowd at the Silverdale Community Center.

Topics ranged from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to FCC decency standards to Medicare and decreasing veterans’ rights.

“Ken Lay took $100 million dollars out of Enron and that’s more important than improving health care benefits and survivor benefits for veterans and that’s a clear decision this administration has made,” Inslee said. “What possible justification could there be to take money from a veteran who served at Iwo Jima and make him pay $20 for a perscription he used to get for $6 and take that extra money and give it to the guy who drove Tyco to the ground?”

Inslee said the current $500 billion deficit is more of a moral choice than an economic choice by the Bush administration for special interests.

With the crowd predominantly seniors, he said the true Medicare prescription drug benefit cost of $534 billion over a decade was withheld from the House members.

“If we had known the true cost, this bill would not have passed,” Inslee said. “Seniors know what’s going on here and it’s not pretty.”

Inslee also talked briefly about the incident at Bangor where a Trident missle was damaged last December, leading to the dismissal of several high-ranked officers. He, along with Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) met with Navy officials for several hours on March 18 behind closed doors.

“I got evey answer to every question I asked. 99.9 percent of the things we discussed I can’t talk about, but there was a disappointing failure to follow procedure at Bangor which causes me great concern. The Navy was serious in their response to this which included a review of its procedures.”

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