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The Eagle Tribune: Moulton, Priority is ‘standing up to our president’

May 21st, 2017

By Richard K. Lodge, Managing Editor

NEWBURYPORT – Congressman Seth Moulton told a full school auditorium his top priority “has been standing up to our president” while continuing efforts to get bills passed by working across the aisle.

“I think he’s uniquely dangerous for our country,” Moulton said of President Donald Trump.

But Moulton, D-Salem, who was introduced to the crowd in the Nock Middle School auditorium Saturday by Mayor Donna Holaday, noted Trump signed into law last week a bill Moulton co-sponsored with Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican from Texas, “one of only a handful of bills we’ve been able to get signed into law” because of deep divisions in Congress.

“I was elected on a platform of bipartisanship,” Moulton said, adding that he will continue “working behind the scenes with my Republican colleagues to get them to come along” and work together to pass legislation.

The bill, called the Modernizing Government Travel Act, allows federal employees to use ride-sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and bike sharing for reimbursable work-related travel. That change “will save taxpayer dollars and reduce federal spending,” according to Moulton’s website.

Moulton said his second priority is working to reform the Democratic Party and to bring in a new generation of candidates from the federal level down to state legislative and municipal positions.

“We have got to come to terms with the fact that we lost” the election last fall. “We lost badly” and Democrats haven’t had as poor representation at all levels of government for at least eight years, he said.

“I’m calling for a new generation of leadership in the Democratic Party. It’s time for a new generation to step up” to “address the economic problems facing middle America.”

In the meeting, which ran just over an hour, he took at least 10 questions from the audience, including one from Carlos Hernandez of Saugus, who has announced he is running against Moulton for the 6th Congressional District seat. Hernandez loudly criticized Moulton for his support of sanctuary cities and accused him of promoting illegal immigration.

“What are you trying to do to stop all these illegals from draining our country?” Hernandez asked. “I cannot understand how you can support any of this.”

Moulton thanked Hernandez for “getting involved in this race,” and said he did not support illegal immigration but did back efforts to find a “path to citizenship” for people who might be in the United States without necessary documents.

“I think people should come here legally,” Moulton said, but creating a path to citizenship could put many people “back on the tax rolls … so many undocumented workers would start paying taxes.”

In response to a question about how to cap the high cost of medicine and health care in the country, Moulton said “to really make health care work in America it has to be bipartisan,” since few Republicans would vote to cap or lower drug prices and few Democrats would support tort reform, which could bring down the cost of malpractice insurance by limiting high jury awards in court cases against doctors.

He cited the Massachusetts health care system as one that came about because of bipartisan work in the Legislature and Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.

“We did a pretty darn good job with health care” in the Bay State, he said. “It became the most popular health plan in the country.

“That should be a model, not just for health care reform, but for leadership” by members of both political parties.

“I don’t think that health care should be a privilege,” he said. “Just like education, it should be a right.”

Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps, took a final jab at the president when he said, “I don’t think Donald Trump’s kids should be getting better health care than the guys I served with in the Marines.”

Moulton has held these public forums in Gloucester, Reading, Lynn and North Andover as well as a town hall focused on Social Security at Brooksby Village. Hundreds of people have attended each town hall and thousands have tuned in via livestream on Moulton’s Facebook page. In his first term, Moulton held more town hall meetings than any other Democrat in the House or Senate, his office said.

On Sunday, Moulton was scheduled to deliver the commencement address at Framingham State University and receive the honorary degree of doctor of public service.

Article online here.

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