Local News Story: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici holds Town Hall Meeting in Astoria

US Representative Suzanne Bonamici held a townhall meeting in Astoria Tuesday evening at Clatsop Community College. Bonamici has represented Oregon’s first congressional district for the past seven years. Joanne Rideout has details.

She faced a packed crowd in a large classroom at the college. After introductory remarks, Bonamici spent most of the meeting taking audience questions, pulling from tickets submitted by audience members:

The first question was about the Mueller Report, and whether she’d consider voting to impeach President Donald Trump.

Bonamici: “Well I share your concerns about things that this administration has done. I’ll know more on Thursday when we get the report and I figure out what’s in the report. My concern is that trying to impeach the president without having the facts and the votes will not be successful. So we’re doing what we can to hold people accountable, but at this point in time I have an open mind. We’re not there yet.”

Another question about tariffs got this response from Rep. Bonamici:

Bonamici: “First I want to say that this is a very trade dependent region. Northwest Oregon, as I was saying, we grow great things we want to be able to export them. But any trade agreement, in order to be fair, needs to have environmental protections, labor protections. It needs to be good for Oregon and good for the United States. So I’ve expressed concerns in a few areas with regard to the new agreement. One is drugs – the biologic medication provision – but also enforcement. Because a trade agreement needs to have enforceable provisions. So this is a very trade dependent district but we want our agreements to be good for Oregonians and for Americans.”

Universal Health care was another question:

Bonamici: “Thank you for the question, and you’re right that universal access is the goal. And so I think everything needs to be on the table, which is why I signed onto Medicare for all…When you compare the health care system in the United States, we pay more but our results are not as good as in many other countries. And we have a layer of bureaucracy between patients and their providers. We all have personal stories about trying to navigate that system.”

Bonamici said she’d received complaints from doctors overwhelmed by the burden of paperwork and red tape that was interfering with their ability to serve patients.

Bonamici: “Right now the administration is proposing bringing back what are known as junk plans, which are inexpensive policies, which are – people pay for them but they don’t cover them when they need them.”

One audience member thanked Bonamici for her work to help US Coast Guard families get paid during the recent government shut down. She thanked the Coast Guard for their work, to audience applause.

Bonamici: “And I have to say, first of all, a lot of people didn’t understand that the Coast Guard wasn’t being paid…and they also didn’t understand that the Coast Guard is border security. The coast is our border, right? I was more than honored to carry that message and to thank you for all your work.”

Bonamici’s visit to Astoria is one stop on a town hall tour she is conducting to communities in Oregon’s First congressional district. Other stops still to come include meetings in Gaston, Hillsboro and Clatskanie. Bonamici will be in Clatskanie on Wednesday, April 24th at 6:00pm at the Clatskanie Cultural Center, at 75 S Nehalem St.