Gorton Center Forum Serves As Open Venue to Discuss Issues

October 16, 2010

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  • Drs. Arie Friedman and Mark Neerhof discuss heath care concerns
    Drs. Arie Friedman and Mark Neerhof discuss heath care concerns

    Nancy Thorner, Citizen Contributor

    A Forum and Discussion on Critical Issues held at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest on Tuesday, Oct. 12th.

    More than 100 individuals attended the informative event, hosted by a committee headed by Walt Nielsen, a Lake Forest resident of twenty-three years and a member of the Chicago Committee of the Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation, and sponsored by the Illinois Policy Institute and The Heartland Institute.

    In this current atmosphere of partisanship, noteworthy is that the forum’s sponsors are bi-partisan groups and do not endorse candidates.

    Emily Bednar, a senior at Carmel High School in Mundelein, daughter of Bob and JoAnn Bednar of Lake Bluff, opened the event with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

    Following the National Anthem, Lake Forest resident Bob Pommer was called upon to lead the Pledge of Allegiance as Chaplain of American Legion Post 264 in Lake Forest.

    Walt Nielsen greeted those in attendance with the suggestion that the event be called “We the People,” because those in attendance did represent “We the People” as interested and involved citizens.

    Suggested reading by Nielsen were two books which he said could help explain and define the thinking of many in the room: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, a scholarly historical tracing of the roots of liberal precepts, and Dismantling America by Thomas Sowell which collects many of his recent opinion writings in a highly readable format.

    Walt Nielsen then introduced the Panel of Speakers. They were John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute; Dr. Arie Friedman, Pediatrician and Published Author on Healthcare Legislation; Lauren Turelli, candidate for State Representative in Illinois District 58; and Joe Walsh, candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois District 8.

    Despite the label of Republican on all four of the panel members, the issues presented had across-the-board appeal in a state where according to panelist John Tillman, 76% of Illinoisans believe their state is on the wrong track. This is the highest ‘wrong track’ percentage of any state in the nation.

    Furthermore, the evaluation came from Independents, Democrats and Republicans, all unhappy with out-of-control spending, unfunded pensions, and the culture of corruption which defines Illinois.

    John Tillman described Illinois as a state which was once an “Economic Colossus.” The Illinois Policy Institute since August has been visiting dozens of Illinois cities in its on-going bus tour to involve citizens in helping to “Turn Illinois Around.”

    And how might this be done? Tillman’s plan consists of balancing the budget without a tax hike, limiting spending, and championing the free market system, which in turn will create jobs, to lift Illinois from its dismal rank of 48th in job creation to #1 in the nation.

    One issue of concern to a majority of the American people is the Affordable Health Care for America Act (better known as ObamaCare) which was passed on March 23rd of this year.

    The Gorton Center Forum was fortunate to have two medical doctors on-hand, both of whom are members of the Physician Council for Responsible Reform, and who make regular trips to Washington, D.C. to enlighten legislators about the dictates of the massive 2,500-plus page bill which will harm rather than enhance medical care for the American people. They were Drs. Mark Neerhof and Arie Friedman.

    Dr. Mark Neerhof of Lake Forest, who specializes in Gynecology, Maternal & Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, and who is affiliated with the NorthShore University Health System Medical Group in Evanston (Neerhof also heads the Chicago Chapter of the national organization, Docs4PatientCare.), had this to say before introducing Dr. Arie Friedman of Highland Park, a pediatrician and published author on health care:

    “I am proud to be part of the best medical system in the world. I saw what was coming a year before ObamaCare was passed and felt like a voice crying in the wilderness when alerting legislators and Illinoisans about how the bill would adversely affect health care.”

    Dr. Arie Friedman spoke with conviction and passion about his biggest concern which is that ObamaCare will break the trust between the doctor and the patient, resulting in a system where collectivism rules. Collectivism was defined by Dr. Friedman as a government-run system where emphasis is placed on the equal distribution of medical resources, with care limitations placed on the very young and the elderly. Dr. Friedman sees the object of the ObamaCare legislation as a prelude to a government-run, single-payer health care system.

    The issue of hospitals was also addressed by Dr. Friedman. Section 6101 of Affordable Health Care Bill forbids physicians from owning hospitals. Eighty-six physician-owned hospitals, many of which were in low income or depressed neighborhoods, were in the works when ObamaCare passed. Constructrion of all eighty-six hospitals was halted.

    Most people believe that ObamaCare consists of one massive bill; not according to Dr. Friedman. A large section of the Stimulus Bill also contains health care provisions.

    The messages presented by Lauren Turelli and Joe Walsh were in tune with the existing bipartisan view that Illinois is on the wrong track. Whether voting Independent, Republican or Democrat, Illinoisans care that their state has amassed a $13 billion deficit; has $120 billion in unfunded pensions; has lost 250,000 jobs in the past two years; ranks 48th in education; and that businesses are moving from Illinois to Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

    As Joe Walsh related, this election is different from past elections because, “There is a revolution going on in America.”

    Perhaps there is no better example of this revolution than the “Tea Party” movement, whose participants cross party lines in demanding that government listen to what “We the People” want. Tea Party participants are scared to death over how much money is being spent by our government. They want a smaller government and are resisting the interference of government in their lives, because they cherish the American ideals of liberty and freedom and perceive that both are presently being lost.

    Issuing from the Gorton Forum and Discussion on Critical Issues were warnings from Republicans to Republican attendees, although they do apply to all candidates who are elected on November 2nd.

    The non-partisan “Revolution” will not end after November 2nd. The “Revolution” will not give either party a break. Voters will hold candidates’ feet to the fire. If a candidate fails to listen to their constituents, he/she will not automatically be rewarded with another term in office.

    John Tillman spoke about a soon-to-be introduced plan by the Illinois Policy Institute which will hold candidates responsible to the people they serve. The program is called: Adopt a Legislator.

    A representative republic requires both an informed participating electorate and candidates who willingly engage in open dialogue with those they seek to govern.

    The following statement made by Aimee Messner, a Lake Forest resident who had an active role on the Host Committee of the Gorton event, sums up the feeling of voters regardless of party affiliation:

    “Although some candidates may ride the incoming Republican tide on November 2nd, be assured that the folks who are showing up at meetings (and their friends) are all about post-election information distribution paths and accountability, i.e. “bringing the heat.”

    To this, Mr. Nielsen adds, “It will happen. Nobody much cares about keeping an elected official in their seat so they can build up seniority and perks. Dumping weak tea is already a national sport.”

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