Congressman Jared Huffman Answers Questions at Town Hall Meeting in Arcata Last Night
Note: This report was prepared with the assistance of Shanna Archibold.
An estimated 1200 local residents packed the Arcata High School Gym yesterday as Congressman Jared Huffman who represents this area in the US Congress spoke and answered questioned at a Town Hall meeting.
So many people RSVP’d their interest in attending that the event had to be moved to a bigger venue to accommodate them all.
Huffman seemed energized by the enthusiasm of those attending, Afterwards he wrote on his Facebook page, “Something is happening in this country, and it’s positive, determined, and increasingly focused…At one point I asked how many in the audience were attending their first town hall meeting and about half the hands went up. This is what Democracy looks like!”
The Congressman spoke for about half an hour and then opened the floor to questions from the audience.
Below are some highlights of what was discussed:
President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds to California–Huffman said that this state is a net donor state. This means that California gives more money to the federal government in the form of taxes than it receives from them. In addition, Huffman asserted that the federal government cannot withhold money because of the 10th Amendment’s “no commandeering” clause.
We might have to sue the Federal government, Huffman said, but it would be an easy win for the state.
Restructuring the Democratic National Committee– Huffman explained he supports Keith Ellison for Chairman.
Last Chance Grade–a troubled section of Hwy 101 by Crescent City. Huffman agrees that it badly needs to be repaired. He said is having a meeting with all the stakeholders including Caltrans, State Parks, EPIC, native tribes and other land owners. They are trying to speed up the process by negotiating to decide on the new route together and then go to federal government for funds.
Immigration–Huffman called it a very important issue for his district. He stated there was a need to stop tearing families apart and causing fear in immigrant communities. He urged constituents to contact him if they hear reports of immigration police, ICE, acting inappropriately but he said that many times these situations are not as reported. Right now, Huffman said, there is strong bipartisan support in Congress to protect the Dreamers–those brought to the United States illegally as children. He reiterated that ICE will not going to schools and hospitals to remove illegal immigrants.
Electoral college–This, Huffman said is an anachronism. He wants reform, but next election is way more important to put energy into. If there are more Democrats in Congress, then more can be done to hold on to progressive programs.
Single payer healthcare–Huffman said the future of single payer is hopeful. He has personally been a cosponsor of Medical for All for many years.
Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)–He said he urged Obama to withdraw easement under the river but one of the first acts of the Trump administration was to reverse that stance. Huffman argued that the project adds nothing to US Petroleum stores, as all of the oil goes to an international market where it worth more money. He wants to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. He introduced Keep It In The Ground, and believes that we should leave oil in the ground for the future of this country, instead of selling it on the foreign market. He says politicians on both sides of the aisle are concerned about climate change.
Gerrymandering– Huffman said there is support across party lines to end the practice. “Constituents should choose their representative, the representative should not chose their constituents.”
The Environmental Protection Agency–Huffman said the EPA saved Humboldt from the potential worst enviromental catastrophe this county has seen. Three years ago the pulp mill had failing storage tanks full of extremely toxic waste that was abandoned by the pulp mill owner and the EPA came in with an emergency team and was able to remove that toxic waste.
In addition, Huffman said that a bill to eliminate the EPA will probably not pass Senate.
Infrastructure– Huffman said that the Oroville evacuations have highlighted how badly our neglected infrastructure needs to be repaired. He is sure that this will be a priority. No new dams, instead we need to fix the old ones.
Afterwards Huffman stated on his Facebook page, “It’s too bad my Republican colleagues are afraid of these events lately. I’m going to keep doing them at every opportunity.”
Clip from the standing ovation Huffman received last night.