Congressman LaMalfa meets his constituents (VIDEO)
March 19, 2017
The young woman stood confidently in front of the microphone, and an estimated 1,500 people, and posed a question to her congressman.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, she said she was there for "those without a voice, constantly left in the dark and told they are wrong." She wanted to know whether her representative would honor her own rights, and those of her community members, or would he discriminate against her.
The first four words Doug LaMalfa uttered were interrupted by an emotional eruption — a response repeated throughout Saturday afternoon's town hall with the congressman.
"Well, scripture teaches me …" LaMalfa began, with boos bellowing about the building and a woman shouting "Separation of church and state!"
" …that we are to act from love," he continued as the crowd quieted. "I'm not here to judge anybody. People make their personal choices. They deal with that on their own moral compass. I'm not here to discriminate against anybody."
As emotions ran high, those shouting from the audience were asked repeatedly by other attendees at the microphone to not do so, as well as by event volunteers, organizers and the congressman, who reminded the crowd as soon as his response could be heard, "It's your time" being wasted.
During that time, the congressman and audience touched upon myriad issues from local, state and federal perspectives, including:
— Cuts to federal block grants that fund programs like "Meals on Wheels" (provided locally by Gold Country Community Services volunteers), and the impact reduced funding would have on a "community that looks out for each other."
"It's just a budget proposal," LaMalfa said. "It's not done yet."
• Would the California congressman co-sponsor a bill seeking to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, with his home state's passage of Proposition 59? A "yes" vote supported advising the state's elected officials to use their authority to overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, potentially through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"I will not be co-sponsoring that," LaMalfa said, sparking boos and chants "You work for us! You work for us!"
• Did LaMalfa support Trump's recent overturn of an Obama's Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December?
LaMalfa said he did support Trump's action, because the rule was put in place under "midnight rules" without a vote in Congress.
"There should be a process," LaMalfa said. Trump's action helps those coal-mining communities who feel like they've been run out of business," he said.
• As to whether fossil fuels, carbon dioxide and humans have an impact on global warming and climate change, the congressman said the climate does change and that it's cyclical change.
But carbon dioxide? "Trees dig it," he said.
• And where does LaMalfa stand on the privatizing of public lands?
"How much park space can we manage well?" he said.
• The congressman closed Saturday's session by saying he's disappointed by deep division across the country. He acknowledged it was a "positive"meeting with local groups and leaders — including Indivisible Women Nevada County, Nevada City Councilwoman Reinette Senum and SYRCL Executive Director Caleb Dardick, among others — that led him to move the Grass Valley town hall up on his calendar from April.
He said he hopes to have more opportunities so that he and his constituents, particularly those who disagree with his policies, understand each other more.
"We're not going to agree a bunch of times," he said, "but by and large we did pretty good today, didn't we?"
Contact Editor Brian Hamilton at email@example.com or 530-477-4249.