Shows Hosts Town Meeting

Cong. Ronnie Shows came out swinging in a town hall meeting in Meridian. His main targets: the Republican Party's overall support
for privatizing Social Security and his rival in the upcoming election, Republican Cong. Chip Pickering, who says he no longer supports
that proposal.

"Don't let people fool you. Another word for privatization is individualized savings accounts or personal savings accounts. They
all work the same way," said Cong. Ronnie Shows, a Democrat running to represent Mississippi's new District 3.

According to Shows, privatization is any time money is taken from the Social Security system and invested in different areas, such as the stock market. However, in a recent response to the Clarion Ledger newspaper, Cong. Pickering referred to President Bush's proposal as
a government guarantee-- not privatization.

Either way, officials from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare say over time, the president's proposal will leave some citizens underserved.

"If you take a trillion dollars out, someone's not going to get what they're entitled to," Shows said.

Another hot topic of discussion was the cost of healthcare.

"When my wife had triple bypass surgery, it cost me over $12,000 as my share. And then when I had back surgery, it cost me another $9,000. Any bit of savings I had, I had to pay out," said Dave Tunno, a concerned citizen.

According to Shows, the problem especially when it comes to prescription drugs, is corporate greed.

"They competitively bid in Mexico, Canada and Europe and pharmaceutical companies' prices are twice as low as ours, sometimes 100 percent lower. Personally, I would like to see them bid for Medicare business," said Shows.

Next week Shows has another town meeting scheduled for Thursday,
Aug. 29, at 5:30pm on the second floor of the Lauderdale County Courthouse. The public is invited.