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Bartlett opens the door to constituents

March 14, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • James Devine, left, of Hagerstown, talks with U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett on Monday at his regional office.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Waiting in the lobby of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Barlett’s Hagerstown office Monday afternoon, Mary Forrest ran down the list of topics she wanted to discuss with the congressman: Social Security. Health care. Congressional salaries. The Tea Party.

“I’ve got everything typed up, so he doesn’t forget what I say,” she said.

Forrest, 77, of Hagerstown, was one of several area residents who took advantage of an “open-door” meeting session Monday afternoon in which Bartlett, R-Md., invited constituents to meet with him one-on-one at his office in the Susquehanna Bank building on Dual Highway.

Forrest, who is concerned about the effects of health care reform, said she wrote letters to U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin, both D-Md., but was glad for the opportunity to meet with Bartlett in person.

“I like Rep. Bartlett,” she said. “I know that he understands the predicament the country is in at this time.”

Bartlett said he schedules open-door meetings about three times a year because he values input from constituents and enjoys speaking with them one-on-one.

“It’s easy to kind of live in a bubble down in Washington,” he said.

Some of the constituents who visited Bartlett sought his help with specific problems they were facing.

Elta Sowers, 86, of Hagerstown, said she was attempting to get Medicare to pay for a stress test she had performed for her heart, while David Matthias of Hagerstown said he had run into trouble getting his private pilot’s license renewed.

Matthias said he and his wife, Sue, had known Bartlett since 1987, when Bartlett arranged for a group of inner- city youths to work in Matthias’ construction company.

“We wanted to see if Roscoe’s memory is as good as it was in the old days, and it is,” Matthias said.

Monday’s session was one of a series of town-hall and open-door meetings Bartlett is holding for constituents throughout District 6 between March and June.

He also held an open-door meeting in Westminster, Md., Monday morning and has open-door meetings scheduled in Frederick, Md., on Thursday, and in Cumberland, Md., on March 29.

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