DANBURY, Conn. — Before a crowd of about 70 people at the Danbury Library, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty kicked off the "Congress on Your Corner" meeting by speaking about the current state of the nation.
"The country is somewhat divided right now," said Esty, D-5th District. "I think the people I serve with are patriots. We love this country. We want a bright future for our children. We care about peace more broadly in the world.
"These things unite us. We are trying to help our districts and help the country."
Esty then answered questions from the crowd and later spoke one-on-one with some of her constituents about what’s going on in Congress and any issues with a government agency.
One of the concerns addressed was the growing threat of the Zika virus. "There were 10 new cases in Florida today, and 14 in Miami alone. We passed legislation but didn't get the funding" to fight the virus, Esty said.
She added that Zika could be anywhere in the United States. "We need to protect our people, we need to provide funding for the research and treatment of Zika right away."
The Parents Plus loan was brought up in regard to the topic of college affordability. "This loan has an extremely large interest rate -- 8 percent," Esty said.
"We have been looking at lowering this interest rate. The rates of federal loans are 3 percent, which is much more reasonable. We are working to try to allow renegotiation for private loans to be more in line with the government loans."
Email and telephone scams related to the IRS and Social Security were also brought up.
"Don't answer any calls from people who say they are from either of these. The IRS and Social Security administration will never contact you by phone, nor by text or email," Esty said, adding residents will only be contacted by mail.
However, she said there can be scams in this system as well. "They keep getting innovative and thinking of new ways to scam people," she said.
The Windfall Elimination Provision was also brought up. According to this provision, if people work for an employer that doesn’t withhold Social Security taxes from their salary, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, any pension from that work can reduce Social Security benefits.
"This can take a very deep cut in one's Social Security benefits," Esty said, adding this issue will take more revenue to resolve.
Esty represents the 5th District, which includes Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Sherman as well as much of northwestern Connecticut.
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