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February 19. 2014 7:20PM

Sen. Ayotte makes stops in southwestern NH for town hall meeting

WINCHESTER — From the Benghazi investigation to a vote to repeal the medical device excise tax, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., took questions from Cheshire County town hall attendees at the Winchester VFW hall on Main Street Wednesday afternoon.

About 50 people filled the VFW for the town hall.

“There’s a huge concern about the medical device tax,” said Quinton Farrar of Keene, after the town hall. “It’s a big issue.”

Farrar, who is unemployed, lost his job at Smith’s Medical in Keene in October because of the tax, he said. During the town hall Farrar asked Ayotte about the chances of a vote to repeal the excise tax.

“How can we help you to get Senator Reid to take a vote?” Farrar asked.

Smith’s Medical employs about 650 people in the Keene area, he said.

The votes are in the U.S. Senate to repeal the tax, she said, but Majority Leader Harry Reid is the reason the tax has been taken up for a vote. Not repealing the tax would shift jobs to other countries, she said.

As for the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare, Ayotte said she is still committed to repealing the law, but said it will likely be repealed bit by bit.

Healthcare should be made more affordable through laws that would allow for more competition such as the selling of health insurance across state lines, she said.

Veteran Richard Whittemore of Winchester wanted to know about the Benghazi investigation and why there was a seven hour delay in response from the military. Four Americans including an ambassador were killed in the attack on Sept. 11, 2012.

“Is that still being covered up?” he asked.

Ayotte said a recently release report from the Senate Intelligence Committee has confirmed it was a terrorist attack, but many questions remain, in terms of the response and labeling of the event from the White House Administration initially.

Jake Wagner of Manchester asked Ayotte how the country could become more energy independent while at the same time protect the environment.

“I think we need to have an energy policy that is an all of the above policy,” she said. “In other words use our natural resources and at the same time use our technology to protect our environment.”

This approach would be a job creator, she said.

After the town hall, Ayotte traveled to Claremont for a Sullivan County town hall meeting.

Ayotte said she was holding the town halls to gives residents an update on the federal fiscal situation and to answer questions from the public.

mpierce@newstote.com


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