Letter From Congressman Wilson

Dear Friends,

There are many highlights from this week to tell you. First, I hosted a telephone town hall meeting on healthcare reform on Wednesday evening and more than 4,700 residents from across Ohio’s Sixth District took the time to listen to part or all of the meeting; some offered their stories and opinions about healthcare reform. Since healthcare reform will be one of the most complex issues we’ll deal with this year, I wanted to reach out to the residents of southern and eastern Ohio early on in the process.

Healthcare costs have increased four times faster than inflation and that’s hit working families extremely hard. As families fight to pay for, or even find healthcare, we need to engage in positive discussion and debate to solve our healthcare problems. Every American citizen should be getting the best possible coverage at the best possible price. I hope you’ll stay in touch with my office as the debate on healthcare reform progresses in Congress.


This week I was also able to make several announcements about funds that will soon be headed to the Sixth District from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

First the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) posted that it will begin distributing one-time payments of $250 in June to eligible veterans and their survivors to help mitigate the effects of the current economy. To be eligible, VA beneficiaries must have received compensation, pension, dependency and indemnity compensation, or spina bifida benefits at any time between November 2008 and January 2009. No application is necessary. The VA will use its existing payment records to determine eligibility.

This economy is hurting families all across the country, but the jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are 18 and older is 11.2 percent. That’s significantly higher than the corresponding 8.8 percent rate for non-veterans in the same age group. Though $250 won’t solve their problems, it tells our veterans that we know they’re hurting. We hope this will not only help them, but help the economy.

In addition, the Social Security Administration will be sending out $250 economic recovery payments to people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits beginning in early May. No action is required to get this one-time payment either. However, if someone receives both Social Security/SSI and VA benefits, he or she will receive only one $250 payment.

On Wednesday, I was able to announce that the Sixth District will receive more than $6.8 million to make improvements to public housing as part of the Recovery Act. The metropolitan housing authorities of Portsmouth, Jefferson, Ironton, Belmont, Columbiana, Athens, Gallia and Noble will use that money to develop, finance and modernize their public housing.

Yesterday I also announced that our district would benefit from nearly $171 million in transportation and transit projects. I was proud to support the Recovery Act because I knew it would mean hundreds of transportation and transit jobs for our area. I’m pleased that the state is focusing on projects like the Nelsonville Bypass ($150 million) and the Wellsville Intermodal Facility ($5.7 million). These are just two examples of the excellent infrastructure projects to be funded in our region that will boost our long term economic health.

Finally, just today I was able to announce that our district is set to receive more than $600,000 in health center funding from the Recovery Act. Many families rely on community health clinics as their main healthcare provider. So, not only are these funds being invested in much needed healthcare for our area, but the money will help create or save more than 13 jobs.


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District


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