Government representatives hold town hall meeting to discuss issues that affect both sides of the political divide
Congressman Jared Huffman and California State Representative Jim Wood held a town hall meeting at St. Bernard’s Academy to talk about subjects like veterans, the Green New Deal and healthcare, among others.
“It isn’t very often you get a state representative and a congressman in the same room together,” Huffman said. “It’s valuable, so many issues have a federal and state element.”
There was a lot of ground to cover but only a couple hours to talk. Huffman and Wood began the event by updating the crowd on some of the things going on with State and Federal politics. The event was somewhat political but Huffman made it clear he wanted to have a civil conversation with people who have different ideas than him.
U.S. army veteran Jeremy Campbell, a student at College of the Redwoods, asked a serious question to Huffman and Wood. Campbell asked the representatives for more support for veterans. The United States has a knack for asking a lot from their soldiers but providing little for their veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs there were 20.4 million veterans in the country. Our veterans need support in the face of a number of challenges including homelessness, substance abuse and PTSD.
Huffman said he would try to support veterans. The spending on the border wall is being realized through an emergency declaration by the president, allowing him to reallocate money from the U.S. defense budget towards the construction of the border wall.
“We are going to stop Trump from clawing away money from veterans,” Huffman said.
A number of people brought up the issue of healthcare in Northern Calif. A serious understaffing problem is plaguing Humboldt County according to the National Union of Healthcare Workers. Citizens in the county are feeling the pressure. In light of the failure of the Calif. high speed rail, one of the people said they would like to see the funds put into better hospital infrastructure.
“I have to drive for hours to get anything more than a CT scan,” a community member said. “We need a better hospital up here.”
The Green New Deal was another hot topic. A couple of Humboldt State students had the opportunity to ask questions about the subject. David Grover, an ESM student on campus, had prepared a question for Huffman before he arrived at the event. Grover was excited for the opportunity to address his congressman directly. Grover intended to get Huffman’s opinion on whether he supported Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal, currently being reviewed by House subcommittees, or if he supported the Green Party’s Green New Deal.
Lily Price, an HSU junior studying botany, represented the Sunrise Movement at the town hall. Price asked Huffman to address the U.S. Speaker of the House on the subject.
“I think we can bring the smartest minds to the conversation and move the needle,” Huffman said. “I think we’re going to do good stuff with this subcommittee.”
Updated 03/05/19: A previous version of this article misquoted Jeremy Campbell.