In his first trip to Auburn and Cayuga County since being sworn in Jan. 5, Rep. Richard Hanna hosted an open house at his Auburn district office Thursday.
The event was well attended. Constituents were able to stop in and see Hanna. Members of the business community and local government officials also made appearances.
Prior to the open house, I had the opportunity to interview Hanna and discuss his first month in office. He also answered questions about a few issues, including the health care repeal vote held in January.
Hanna defended his vote for repeal. He had previously said that he would not vote for repeal unless there was an effort to fix the law. That was not how the Republican leadership approached the law, however. The bill to repeal the law was introduced, with Republicans pledging to fix the health care law after repealing it.
"I could not have made one without the other. They were tied together. I didn't like the format, but those were the votes, that was the opportunity I was given and I had to vote up or down," Hanna said. "So, the idea that to repeal it without reforming what is already here is not something I looked forward to, but they did both. This is a vote to repeal to reform and there are already reforms that are going out there."
Hanna said, repeating what he has said previously, that there are elements of the health care law he supports. For example, he supports allowing people to keep their children on their insurance and also backs eliminating pre-existing conditions.
He also conceded that the vote was "ceremonial" because the Senate rejected the repeal vote and even if such a measure made it to President Barack Obama's desk, he would not sign it.
The full interview with Hanna also features discussion on a topic of local importance: The ongoing issues involving the Cayuga Indian Nation and local governments in the area. He also talked about his committee and subcommittee assignments and how those will benefit the 24th Congressional District.