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Shuster breakfasts with constituents

Congressman paints a 'realistic' picture of state of the union

Congressman paints a 'realistic' picture of state of the union

February 19, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster did not promise to paint a rosy picture of the state of the union when he began addressing his constituents at Thursday's Legislative Breakfast in Greencastle.

And as he spoke of the economic downturn, the escalating conflict in Afghanistan and the political shift in Washington, D.C., he made true on his promise.

Shuster's address, he said, was realistic. However, it was not completely hopeless.

"Times are tough, and looking to the federal government to solve all of these problems is not effective," Shuster told the group of 150 people gathered at the Antrim House Restaurant. "I think we will get out from under this economic burden, but it will take a long time. Know that I will not back down. I will continue to fight for what matters to the 9th District."

Shuster was the featured speaker at the 2009 breakfast, hosted jointly by the Greencaste-Antrim, Greater Waynesboro and Mercersburg Chambers of Commerce.

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With so many waves ripping through Washington, Shuster said he wanted to give the audience a firsthand account of the top headlines in the nation's capital.

It is impossible to talk about current Washington politics without touching on the economy, he said.

As Shuster detailed his take on President Obama's new stimulus package and the most recent bailout legislation, some members in the audience shook their heads in disappointment.

"I think we (the Republican Party) had a better stimulus plan, but I hope his plan works," Shuster said. "I want to be proved wrong. I don't think I will."

Shuster peppered his talk with encouragement for those who put their faith in him on Nov. 4.

He detailed progress that he said is being made in the war in Iraq, plans for infrastructure and his constant drive to bring money back to the district.

"I am just a customer service representative for 625,000 people to the federal government," he said.

Sara Hollinshead, who asked Shuster how he sees some upcoming abortion legislation faring, said she will cling to Shuster's messages of hope.

The Greencastle branch manager of the First National Bank of Greencastle, Hollinshead said she is aware of the economic crisis since it is on her desk every day, but there are issues out there she believes will be more crucial in the months to come.

"I was disappointed to hear how he thinks some things (votes on proposed bills) will go, but I am encouraged to know that we (Republicans) still have a voice in Shuster," she said.

Greencastle-Antrim Chamber Executive Director Bill Gour said nearly every seat at the breakfast was filled Thursday, the most yet for the event.

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