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Congressman hosts open meeting, visits hospital site
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
June 05, 2013 08:46 AM | 1610 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, District 14 U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, Travis Loudermilk, field representative for Graves and Beth Edwards, director of operations for WellStar, tour the new WellStar Paulding Hospital.
From left, District 14 U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, Travis Loudermilk, field representative for Graves and Beth Edwards, director of operations for WellStar, tour the new WellStar Paulding Hospital.
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District 14 U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, represents Paulding County in Washington, but last week he came to town to hear from his constituents.

When in the county he took time to tour the site of the new WellStar Paulding Hospital, and had a town hall meeting at the county government center in Dallas.

“I love town halls. I wish we could do more of them,” he said. “It is not where I come to give a speech, but to listen.”

The event was Graves’ first town hall meeting in Paulding, and his first in-person town hall in his district this term, he said. Graves’ district was changed and added Paulding at the beginning of this year.

Graves spoke on the IRS scandal – in which the agency is accused of mistreating conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status — and the Benghazi attack in which the American ambassador to Libya was killed, according to an email from Graves’ communications team.

“I think the takeaway from all these scandals is that big government is the problem. The bigger it gets the more intrusive, reckless and arrogant it becomes,” Graves said.

He also spoke about “Obamacare” and the Keystone pipeline, a pipeline planned to transport oil from Canada and the northern U.S. to refineries in America.

“The House recently passed two bills that would be a huge boost to our economy and job creation: that’s repealing Obamacare and building the Keystone pipeline,” he said.

Graves said the most important part of the night is to get feedback from residents, even if it is criticism.

“This is how I stay grounded and connected,” he said. “It is amazing what you can learn when you listen to others.”

When the new hospital on U.S. Hwy. 278 broke ground in April 2012 Graves was present, and he was able to tour it while it is still under construction. Completion is expected in April 2014.

“I think this is a continuation of the relationship with WellStar,” he said.

The tour started from a top floor of the future eight-story hospital, and traveled down throughout the rest of the state-of-the-art facility. Graves said the advancements in hospital design and technology, community input and the accommodations for growth were “amazing.”

Graves has also been working with Paulding County to help convince the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward on permitting for the proposed Richland Creek Reservoir.

The reservoir is planned as the county’s main source of future drinking water.

“It is a true need and concern for the community,” he said.

County officials went to visit Graves and other legislators in Washington in February to ask them to sign a letter to send to the Corps. Graves plans on signing the letter when the county has finalized its wording, he said.
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