Niki Tsongas Talks Jobs and Healthcare
U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, visited the city yesterday to discuss the issues at the senior center.
On Thursday, Rep. Tsongas spoke of the intertwined nature of the issues of medical care, education and jobs as she addressed a group of residents at the senior center.
"The long-term goal is to keep everyone well," she said of the Affordable Care Act.
The representative is campaigning to represent Marlborough following the November election for the newly configured Third Congressional District. She focused on medical care reform as she spoke to the group of mostly seniors.
She explained that it is not only important to get costs in line by working with manufacturers, but to also reform how the healthcare is delivered and ensure it is easily available. Electronic records, although expensive, represent a good investment, she said.
"The goal is to keep people well and ensure they have good care, but not paying for duplicative costs," said Rep. Tsongas.
Linked with this health care are two other major issues, said Rep. Tsongas. Education continues to be key in the country and particularly Massachusetts and is closely linked to jobs.
"That is why we are in a better place today because we have invested in education," she said of Massachusett's position following the recession of 2008. "But we have to make it more affordable for people to go to college."
With high-tech jobs in Marlborough it is easy to see the importance of access to education, she said. However, she explained that it is equally important to ensure a high school education.
"You have to be able to follow complex diagrams and manage complex machinery, so it is a challenge," said Rep. Tsongas of manufacturing jobs that can be obtained with a high school education.
It is both in this access and in setting up strong guidelines that the federal government can influence education, she said.
It is these three issues that intertwine in the policy that lawmakers in Washington address, said Rep. Tsongas. She said she would work closely with the local representation in Marlborough to address the needs of the community. Scheduled office hours in the city will be something she will address if she is elected in November.
"We will find a way to be present here," said Rep. Tsongas. "We will find a way to be here regularly. It is important. I know how important it is."
Rep. Tsongas faces will face a Republican opponent, either Jon Golnik or Tom Weaver, in the race for a congressional district that has been much changed following the 2010 census results. Although there have been some democrats coming out to support U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Rep. Tsongas said it will always be a matter of earning each individual vote.