Stupak touches on prison issues during healthcare-centered town hall


STANDISH -- Rep. Bart Stupak (D - Menominee) was in Standish Monday night to discuss healthcare legislation passed in the United States House of Representatives, but Standish Max wasn't left out of the night's dialogue.

He said when it comes to the federal government using the empty prison as a replacement for Guantanamo Bay or to hold federal prisoners in general, the issue isn't progressing.

"There's never been a proposal," Stupak said. "There's never been a plan offered."

The Congressman also addressed some of the rumors circulating about eminent domain were the feds to purchase the facility. He said the prison and the surrounding area are property of the state of Michigan, and would be so until a federal department makes an offer to buy or lease the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility.

Also, Stupak talked about a prison in Thomson, Ill. that is now being targeted as a Gitmo replacement, saying it has "a lot of momentum right now." Officials in reports have said this location would provide about 3,000 jobs, however, the number put forth by officials in Standish, who said they got the number from Department of Defense officials, was 1,000. Stupak said both of these numbers are unfounded, since no proposal has been put forth for either prison.

But he said he's still hoping the Federal Bureau of Prisons, one government agency represented at an Aug. 13 site visit of the prison, will respond to a letter he sent it.

"I reminded them that we still have a prison you're (BOP) very impressed with," Stupak said.


While the Standish Max dilemma received attention, the night belonged to healthcare. Most who stepped up to the microphones at the town hall expressed dissatisfaction with the House Bill, H.R. 3962, which was recently sent to the United States Senate.

Most opposed said they were upset with the bill's passage and concerned it would lead to higher taxes and ultimately be a failed government program. Comments ranged from people expressing anger about paying for "deadbeats" and others said countries that have national healthcare programs, such as Canada and England, are learning the systems are seriously flawed. Some who were opposed to the passage acknowledged that healthcare needed to be fixed, but said other methods like fixing problems with medical malpractice lawsuits and letting people purchase insurance across state lines.

Stupak also presented a slide show presentation prior to fielding questions. During the slide presentation, he said H.R. 3962 would provide insurance to 50,000 people in Michigan's First Congressional District and 1,100 families could avoid bankruptcy, amongst other things.


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