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Washington comes to Shelby

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By Lisa King

From the large crowds that turned out to hear a politician speak on Friday, it's clear  that Shelby Countians care about issues dear to them.

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U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green) was met with enthusiasm and hundreds of residents at all three stops he made in Shelbyville, speaking about health-care reform, the economy and environmental issues.

Bipartisan groups of business and community leaders and just residents showed up at a luncheon for the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce members at the Shelby County Extension Office, a speech at Jewish Hospital Shelbyville and at a public forum at Shelby County Farm Bureau on Mount Eden Road.

The day was part of Guthrie’s tour of House District 2 during congress’s summer break.

"It was good to see him come out and talk to the people," said auctioneer David Neville of Pleasureville. "I wouldn't say that he changed anyone's thinking on anything. I'm sure people went away with the same opinions they had going in, because that's how people are. But it was good to see him take an interest in talking to the people."

Michael Collins, president and CEO at Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, welcomed Guthrie warmly, presenting him with the gift of an umbrella.

"I really appreciate the congressman taking time out of his schedule to come and talk to us about these issues," Collins said.

Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty, who was present at the chamber and at Guthrie's visit to the hospital, echoed Collins' sentiments.

"He's very busy, but it really helps the community when he takes time out to address things like health-care reform because a lot of people are wondering what's going on, and they have questions," the mayor said.

Guthrie invited questions after each of his discussions, and plenty of hands went up after each speech.

At the Farm Bureau office, most questions centered on health-care reform, and some attendees were worried about how their benefits, as well as the quality of their care, might be affected if a proposed bill is passed.

Another man at the forum, Bill Smith, a small business owner who is retired from the Air Force, asked Guthrie if the government was interested in helping in his sector.

"I can assure you that they are very concerned about small businesses," Guthrie said.