Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Congressman Tiffany visits Hurley


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Hurley - Residents from Wisconsin's Northwoods had the chance to have their voices heard by one of their elected officials when U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, visited the Iron County Memorial Building in Hurley on Tuesday.

Tiffany said that he comes from Washington, D.C., to various parts of his congressional district two to three times a year to take questions from his constituents and this is his first visit to Hurley as representative.

"I think it's really important to talk about it because the public needs to know - it's part of the reason I'm here and why I try to be very forthright about my position - where I stand, so when it comes election time, they can make an informed decision. Because there's people in here today who clearly do not agree with my positions, it's important for them to know my positions also," Tiffany said to the Daily Globe.

Tiffany said to the Globe that he believes in a limited federal government. He said the federal government is attempting to do too much with "massive spending bills (and) significantly more regulations being passed." He said inflation is a direct result of the stimulus spending and that more regulation should be left to the states.

Tiffany took questions from 20-some people assembled around tables.

In response to questions about masking, Tiffany said that he has been mostly consistent in opposing the mask mandates and lockdowns. He said he understood the shutdowns for the first three to four weeks of the pandemic in March 2020. However, since they knew within a month who was most vulnerable to COVID-19 - the elderly, immunocompromised and those with comorbidities - he said they should have taken a different approach to the virus.

By late April 2020, Tiffany said he was urging government officials to reopen schools. Tiffany said he generally agrees that wearing a mask and getting vaccinated should be a personal choice. He said that parents can have their children vaccinated if the parents want to, but that he disagrees with other groups telling children to wear masks and vaccinate.

He said that the science is "very clear" that children are at low risk for COVID-19 and it is unnecessary for them to get vaccinated, citing the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director under President Donald Trump, Robert Redfield, who said in August 2020 that the seasonal cold and flu pose a greater risk to children than COVID-19.

Tiffany said it is time to end the lockdowns and mask mandates, using statistics as evidence for his claim that they are doing more harm than good.

"Girls 12-17 years of age - suicide attempts are up 51% in America. For the first time in the United States, we had over 100,000 overdose deaths of drugs, in particular methamphetamine and fentanyl. I would say everybody, but especially young people are paying a terrible price (from the pandemic response) and many of them are losing years of schooling as a result of it," Tiffany said.

"I've seen some data coming from a - I don't know, he's a behavioral scientist out of California or whatever. But he was identifying children have lost 20 points on their IQ tests. And it's because how we communicate. How do children communicate? They have to see those facial expressions. They are not seeing them with all these mask mandates and the video conferencing," he continued.

Other questions at the listening session were about a graduated income tax on the super-rich. Tiffany said that he would consider such a tax, but they would have to find another way than through their employee's wages because most of billionaires' money comes from their stocks.

When asked if he was concerned about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos making billions per week and not paying his taxes, he responded that his primary concern was the damage that Bezos's monopoly is doing to smaller businesses.

When asked, Tiffany said that he has been cooperating with the Native American tribes in his congressional district on a variety of issues, including environmental concerns. Tiffany said there are seven or eight tribes in his district. He said that his office in the capitol has not had many visitors during the pandemic, but of all the people who come through, the tribes have been his most frequent visitors. He said they also frequently meet virtually, mentioning the tribe's "very proactive approach" to COVID-19.

Another constituent, Mary Calgaro, asked Tiffany for an update on the influx of Afghanis in the area. Tiffany said that following the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan in late 2021, 13,000 refugees were evacuated and relocated to Fort McCoy near Sparta and Tomah. He said that number is down to about 6,000, with many of them re-settling in various parts of the country including Wisconsin. Calgaro said that she expected to hear more news after their arrival.

Tiffany said that he was concerned that these refugees were not properly vetted through the Special Immigrant Visa program.

"The Biden administration said we're going to have people go through SIV in order to come out of Afghanistan to America and that gave people some assuredness that these people are being very thoroughly vetted. In the first three months of 2021, 86% of the Afghanis who were going through the SIV process by the State Department of the United States failed the vetting. The people coming out of Afghanistan, the State Department - and this is a quote from the State Department, this isn't my words - said, 'We'll deal with the immigration status later. Get them on the planes out of here,'" Tiffany said.

Rendered 06/04/2024 03:13