U.S. lawmakers need to wake up

Copy of a letter sent to U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp:

I am angry at this government wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare. First of all, Social Security is not theirs to mess around with. It belongs to the people of the United States who paid into it for retirement when they get old and need it. It does not belong to the government to do whatever they want to do to pay themselves out of debt.

The first thing that would help this government is to cut federal deficits by cutting their own salaries, starting with the Senate and House of Representatives; that would save a lot of money right there because, in my opinion, you're all overpaid.

You all need to put your heads together and bring this country back to what we call America. I watch the government TV channel and you people act like a bunch of kids; some are sleeping during voting, also, you plan to vote on your next raise and some don't show up and your raise automatically is approved, that is nonsense and a cruel way of selfishness; it doesn't happen this way in the real world. These cuts need to start at the top, not at the bottom, as usual. Equally sharing the cuts among all of us, including all of you, will help in turning this economy around. This problem started in the White House, not the working class people in America who work and pay our bills and taxes only to see our government throw it away on stupid ideas.

I also think it is time we stop playing granddaddy to the whole world and quit selling ourselves off to the other countries just to pay our debts you shouldn't have made in the first place. Learn to live on a budget like the rest of us have to do, low-income people have to do it every day so the government ought to be able to do it, too.

I live on $15,984 a year, $680 a month goes to Medicare and Reserve National Insurance, $652 to food, auto gas and household needs per month and that's the life of the poor America. We put you into office to see to our well-being in the great America we call our country, but it looks like it is sliding downhill real fast. I hope you wake up and get your heads screwed on pretty soon, before it is too late for everyone in this country. I want everyone in the House of Representatives and Senators to read this notice. I hope you read this in the House of Representatives in Washington. I also believe you should put a lid on all prices, groceries, gas and oil.

Sincerely,

JAMES S. NIBLOCK,

Garden City

No time for change in smoke-free laws

Kansans like their smoke-free state.

In July, Kansas celebrates its first anniversary as a smoke-free state.

However, efforts may be brewing that threaten strong provisions in the law. Proposals to add major exemptions to the smoke-free law could become bargaining chips during remaining budget negotiations between the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Since July, Kansans have enjoyed the freedom to breathe indoor air free of the toxins and stench of secondhand smoke, which not only causes cancer but also heart disease and strokes.

A poll taken six months after the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act began shows that 77 percent of Kansas voters still support the law, as do even 54 percent of current smokers.

Most Kansans want even more venues to be smoke-free, including the new casinos in Kansas. But they do not want to lose the current benefits of healthy air in places where they play, work and eat.

Kansans have fought for clean indoor air policies for years, both at the local and the state level. Last-minute guerrilla warfare tactics should not undermine one of the most significant public health achievements Kansas has ever had. Other important issues deserve the legislators' attention now. Let's keep Kansas smoke-free.

MARY JAYNE HELLEBUST,

Topeka