Letters to the editor 5/19

May 20, 2003

Congress gets no special treatment

To the editor:

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Ms. Kissinger's letter to the editor of May 7. There is no question that the United States has the finest health care in the world, but there are severe problems with access and cost.

I was flattered but had nothing to do with an independent group, United Seniors Association, featuring me in their recent ads highlighting the positive steps being taken by Congress to improve the health care system for seniors. Let me repeat and emphasize neither taxpayers' money nor my campaign funds were used to pay for this ad.

I take very seriously Kissinger's complaint about a lack of response to a letter she sent to my office. For the record, on Feb. 11, Kissinger sent an e-mail citing concerns she had about a presidential appointee to a health board. I sent her a response on April 21.


I would like to provide additional details about my efforts to respond to constituent inquiries for the benefit of Kissinger and Herald-Mail readers. While communications improvements of the last decade have resulted in a surge in the volume of inquiries, my congressional staff size remains the same.

I receive at least 50 and sometimes hundreds of e-mails from constituents each day. That is in addition to at least that many formal letters, post cards and phone calls. Sharing your concerns and views helps me represent you better. Working with my staff, I try very hard to respond to inquiries in a timely fashion.

Finally, I am proud that I live on the farm in Frederick that I bought in 1961 where I continue to raise sheep and goats. Like thousands of other 6th District residents, I commute to Washington, D.C., when congressional duties, such as voting, require my presence there. It is also a privilege and a pleasure to spend most all my weekends and holidays meeting with constituents and attending events in the 6th District which now stretches from south of Philadelphia to south of Pittsburgh. There is no special treatment for members of Congress - I have the same choices as other federal employees concerning health insurance and pension plans.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett
Maryland's 6th District

The greatest (women's) generation

To the editor:

I am often invited to be a guest speaker for various women's organizations.

The association of these women between the ages of 55-85 never ceases to amaze me. We are absolutely fabulous, the "Greatest Generation." I sit back as these women prepare themselves for the meeting and I am always impressed by their flare for style, hair and makeup. They are well-groomed and articulate.

These ladies have worked as nurses, doctors, lawyers, artists, seamstresses, beauticians and office workers, and they have been CEOs of their own businesses. They are mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

I am continually impressed at the many talents displayed. They form committees to decorate, orate and organize.

They share a sense of spirituality that fills the room. They have risen and are able to rise above adversity and go forward being the matriarchs of their families. They are the leavenings in the yeast that binds their families and friends together.

Many of them (70 to 80 years old) are widows who continue to work and enjoy the benefits of travel, continuing education classes and relationships with families and friends. They are the nuts and bolts, the movers and the shakers.

They have been and will continue to be the architects of the future, building strong memories to bind their families together, as does the yeast in bread.

May we remember this Mothers Day season to take off our hats to the greatest generation of mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, so that we can go forward and continue to teach our children strong principles of love, kindness, truthfulness, clean speech, impeccable manners, beautiful grooming that seem to be fading with time.

Mothers, we are responsible to teach our daughters the "finer things of life" so they may in their "generation" come to find that same love and joy that has made my generation so great.

Sylvia G. Bonebrake
State Line, Pa.

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