Bonner hears complaints about gas prices, other costs

Published 7:12 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
The high cost of living - because of gas prices, medical costs and other issues - seemed to be a theme among residents who listened in to a telephone town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner Tuesday night.
The Republican congressman used technology to host a telephone town hall meeting for members of the first congressional district, which includes Escambia County.
More than 2,800 households listened in on the call, which began around 7 p.m. and lasted until almost 8 p.m. Residents could choose simply to listen to the call or to press a number to ask a question. When he signed off, Bonner still had 60 people waiting in line to ask question.
Residents asked about a variety of topics, including veterans benefits, gas prices and healthcare costs.
Bonner said Congress is working on an increase in the minimum wage - which has not been increased in 10 years - but the House and Senate have not yet agreed on one bill.
But Bonner said this month's announcement that German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp will build a $3.7 billion steel plant along the Mobile/Washington county line. The plant promises to employ 2,700 people, with up to 30,000 construction jobs along the way.
Another caller from Brewton whose business is landscaping asked if Bonner could do anything about the &#8220companies gouging us” over gas prices.
Bonner agreed that high gas prices have a &#8220major damper effect on the economy.”
Other callers told Bonner they appreciate his support for the military and asked about funds for troops in Iraq. Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been squabbling over whether to fund the war in Iraq or set a deadline to bring troops home.
At the end of the call, Bonner invited those who had not been able to ask questions on the call to leave a voicemail that his staff could answer. He also encouraged residents to call his office at 1-800-288-8721 if they need assistance.

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