Representative Perez takes questions from the audience during Town Hall meeting in South Bend last Tuesday evening. Emcee K.C. Johnson looks on.
Last Tuesday evening 3rd Congressional District Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez attended and spoke at what was billed as a Town Hall Meeting. Perez, a self proclaimed outspoken moderate fielded questions in front of a crowd of roughly 60 people. Raymond School District Superintendent K.C. Johnson emceed the proceeding that lasted for about an hour at the Community Center in South Bend. Jovan Vahn, president of the Chamber of Commerce, hosted the event.
The 35 year old Perez opened with a bit of her background explaining that she and her husband own an automotive machine shop and that they were from the "Trades." She went on to reveal that when it was time for them to buy a building she pursued a Small Business Loan which despite having a degree in Economics the application process took them a full year to complete. This, she says, "was one of the major reasons I ran for Congress. It was because I wanted to figure out a way to get more loans for small businesses."
Though there was a police presence in the room, South Bend Police Chief Stigall, the event was very low-key and the crowd was completely civil. The format of the proceedings was that attendees were allowed to write questions which were then read to Perez by the emcee. There was no discussion or conversation, just Perez replying to each of the questions.
She spoke of one community funded project that she is involved in, which is the South Bend Boat Shop. She mentioned that it is one of the only "Dry Docks" around. Earlier that day on her Facebook page she wrote,"I swung by the South Bend Boat Shop at thePort of Willapa Harbor today and spoke with some shellfish growers! I'm working to secure funding for the shop - so vessels can get maintenance and so we can support our local aquaculture economy."
When asked about what she could do about all of the "robo calls" she said,"Put'em in jail." The comment evoked laughter from the audience but she went on to explain that she was serious and that she was working on a bill regarding companies who engage in robo calling and that the penalty would be a year in jail.
Other topics that she addressed were federal student loan relief, the opioid crisis, term limits, apprentice training, ethics reform for politicians, funding for the new local hospital and the farmer's "Right to Repair." She also discussed veteran's rights and immigration reform.
In her wrap up she told the crowd that she wants to fight for the people in her district on a personal level.
At the close there was a rousing round of applause for her as she exited the venue.
This was the first of four Town Hall meetings that she has scheduled. The second was in Packwood on the 10th, the third is in Toledo on the 23rd and in Thurston County on September 5th. For more about the representative go to her web page at https://gluesenkampperez.house.gov.