U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa talks fire, roads; some attendees to Wednesday’s meeting wanted to talk gun safety (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com

U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa talks fire, roads; some attendees to Wednesday’s meeting wanted to talk gun safety (VIDEO)

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Republican U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa came to Grass Valley City Hall Wednesday morning to talk about his priorities and provide an update from Washington, D.C.

Protesters of LaMalfa, R-Richvale, also attended the meeting. They gathered around the front and back of the building, some holding signs reading “End Gun Violence” amid the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Other signs pushed back against LaMalfa’s support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Inside City Hall LaMalfa planned to listen to the public, and to talk about less controversial policies, according to his Chief of Staff Mark Spannagel.

“On the hot button issues,” said Spannagel, “there’s always going to be differences.”

LaMalfa wanted to discuss things that people could agree on, including spending on highways, wildfire safety, lowered gas taxes, insurance accessibility and expanded forest management, Spannagel said.

During the meeting, LaMalfa encouraged increasing funding for wildfire safety and advocated for the private sector to become more involved in trying to prevent the explosive disasters.

“It’s a matter of increasing the odds that you can stop it,” said LaMalfa.

The congressman spoke on related issues for about 20 minutes before the audience asked him questions on other topics.

Many in the audience asked the congressman about his support for President Donald Trump’s policies, including his support of the 2017 tax cut, promotion of constructing a wall along the southern border and his supposed loose stance on gun laws.

When asked for political solutions to the mass shootings last weekend, the congressman responded, “I don’t like forcing people to do things. I’m a lot more libertarian.”

LaMalfa added that we should “target the bad guys” instead of pushing for legislation on gun safety.

In order to create a safer environment, the representative called for better parental oversight and stronger family values. He also echoed the president’s sentiments about possibly restricting the violence people consume in media.

“How many people have access to nasty video games?” LaMalfa asked.

Audience member Jay Messina challenged the representative, claiming his office didn’t inform people about the Grass Valley event until 24 hours before it occurred.

“It’s his responsibility to notify me, but he didn’t,” said Messina, arguing that the congressman was “hiding” from his constituents.

The Nevada County Republican Party announced Friday on their Facebook page that LaMalfa was coming to Grass Valley. LaMalfa’s office formally announced the Grass Valley event Monday.

Protest

Standing outside before the meeting began, protester Rob Katzenstein highlighted general concerns he had with the congressman as well as the direction of those holding a majority of political power in the country.

“It’s really a protest against Trump and what happened in El Paso and Dayton, too, because the Republican Party has done nothing to ban assault weapons,” Katzenstein claimed.

Protester Jennifer Long said the congressman doesn’t represent her concerns or the concerns of the county. In the wake of recent mass shootings, she wanted LaMalfa to advocate for gun safety laws.

“We need to get (guns) out of the marketplace,” said Long.

A few chants of “do something” — in hopes of encouraging action on gun control — were shouted at LaMalfa as he walked inside city hall just before the morning meeting.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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