I am proud to have participated in the Community Leaders Briefing on Friday, September 30th with other leaders from North Carolina. Our group represented the diversity of America: small business owners, environmentalist, state senators, teachers, and more. As we walked into the auditorium Eisenhower Executive Office Building, we all wondered how frank our discussion would be with senior administration officials – what we were all told was a key part of the series.
After introductions by Deputy Assistant to the President Michael Strautmanis and Director of Public Engagement Jon Carson, we were sent to break out sessions: Small Business, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Housing, or Education. As an otolaryngologist, I am very interested in the Affordable Care Act and was pleased to see the administration’s commitment to the program by having Liz Fowler as our session facilitator. Ms. Fowler is a member of the White House National Economic Council and serves as Special Assistant to the President for health care and economic policy. She welcomed and responded openly to our questions about ACA. Those 45 minutes of the session made the entire trip.
I am impressed by the accomplishments of this Administration, but also feel that these accomplishments have not had the attention they deserve. After listening to the comments from delegates, I walked away believing that the President cannot move this Nation alone. Governing must build consensus founded in policy, yet disagreement with a policy should not mean disloyalty to a cause.
Our delegation left empowered and with an understanding of this Administration’s commitment to taking care of the people of this country. We were pleased by the transparency of the Administration and the genuine willingness of staff to hear our voices and work for the American people.
Dr. Eric Mansfield is a State Senator and physician in North Carolina