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March 6th, 2017
By Joanne Senders
Congressman Seth Moulton of the Sixth District of Massachusetts came to the Reading Public Library Saturday afternoon for a town hall meeting, and numerous people were turned away as both the community room and an overflow room were filled to capacity.
People from various towns throughout the district came to speak to the congressman, who sits on the Armed Forces and Budget Committees, about their concerns with the current administration.
Moulton was quick to point out the importance of town meetings.
“I can’t do my job if I don’t hear from you,” Moulton told the group.
Moulton repeatedly emphasized his nonpartisanship during his March 4 visit, saying he went to Washington as an American.
“We tend to be nonpartisan here even in a divisive time,” Moulton said.
Before even taking questions, Moulton spoke about the threat of terrorism and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). An Iraqi war veteran, Moulton said the greatest current threats of terrorism are from a resurgent Russia, China and Iraq/Afghanistan.
He said it is important that the United States figure out not just how to win the wars but to maintain peace so troops can be withdrawn, something the U.S. has failed to do in the past.
Moulton acknowledged that Obamacare is flawed, but called it a “step in the right direction.” He said Republicans can’t “pull the rug out” from millions of Americans.
The following are some of the questions posed to Moulton during his appearance:
Pam Payne, Peabody: Would you support the efforts of states to pass a constitutional amendment for finance reform since even the courts cannot overrule a constitutional amendment?
Moulton: I think corporate finance reform is important to our Democracy. Citizens are not having their voices heard like corporations. I applaud your efforts and will help any way I can.
Amy Fitzpatrick, Burlington: Do you have any hope there is bipartisan help in Congress?
Moulton: They have brought divisiveness to new heights. I ask you to not give up hope. [Mentioning Senators Graham and McCain]: I think we’ll see more representatives to follow.”
Allison Sloane, Middleton: Comment on Jeff Sessions speaking with the Russians.
Moulton: He is the top law office in the country and lied under oath. This is the guy we’re all supposed to look to, to follow the law of the land. Recusal is not enough. Why would he want to lie about this? We deserve an answer. [Moulton is calling for an independent bipartisan investigation.]
Question: Comment on the budget.
Moulton: Our defense budget is bloated in the wrong direction. Troops on the ground are not getting the resources they need. We’re about to spend billions on nuclear weapons. We have to maintain them but do we need that level. We need a much more balanced approach.
Question: John Giordano, Newburyport: The Democratic Party sold out economic justice for social justice. How do we prevent a schism in the party?
Moulton: I can’t speak for the party. I am certainly committed to doing that. Under the current administration our economic plan is to go backwards, back to coal miners and factories. But jobs have been lost to robots and this is “why [Trump’s] plan won’t work.” Everybody has to be involved in the future growth of work in the US. It has to be the future of everywhere not just Cambridge. I don’t know the answers but I’m committed to figuring it out. Economic growth under Obama has been ‘incredible’ but it has left out many areas from the growth. We have to make sure everyone is included in that economic growth.
Jamie Maughan, Reading: 1) Request you make sure healthcare available to all and available with dignity, 2) Comment on infrastructure.
Moulton: 1) Health care is a right. People will use emergency rooms if they don’t have insurance and that is the most expensive form of medical care. Republicans will need to increase the deficit if they repeal Obamacare. 2) Obama advocated for eight years [for infrastructure improvements]. He had a plan to pay for it. Everybody agrees with [the need for improvements] but we don’t have a plan to pay for it. I’m not going to support a bill that puts a burden on our children and grandchildren. We need to invest in 21st century infrastructure. We need modern technology like high speed rail.
Pat, Swampscott: Do you support reinstating summer Pell Grants [federal grants for disadvantaged students but currently are only available during the school year]?
Moulton: You’re talking to a congressman still paying his school loans. This is a big issue for our economy. There is no more important investment we make than education. I support summer Pell Grants.
Pam, Reading: On defeating dangerous legislative efforts to allow guns in school.
Moulton: [Guns have] no place in our schools. I support the second amendment but there is a lot to do to make our community safer … This is common sense stuff. We don’t need weapons of war on our streets. I’m working with republicans on common sense gun legislation. Massachusetts legislation is leading the way.
Question: Comment on the immigration ban.
Moulton: It’s really harmful for our national security. Isis is using this to recruit new terrorists. It [hinders] our troops who work with Muslim allies overseas.
Editor’s note: Some answers have been summarized.
Article online here.
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