Cries from District 10 constituents for Congressman Jeff Denham to hold a town hall meeting have been answered. The Republican representative will be joined by state Assemblyman Heath Flora, Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa and Mayor Gary Soiseth April 17 for an open forum where community members can ask questions about federal, state and local issues.
“I look forward to any opportunity to engage with Turlock residents directly,” said Soiseth. “I’m guessing a lot of folks will be asking about Measure L funds, our current reserve levels and what the status is on our very progressive water projects. While I’m always available to meet with the citizens of Turlock, I hope they come out to voice their opinions and let us know how we can do a better job as elected officials.”
Despite tensions throughout the Valley between Denham and a number of his constituents regarding the Congressman’s accessibility when it comes to discussing topics like repealing the Affordable Care Act, Denham’s office said that the town hall was not a response to those complaints, but rather the first Government Night held since the new Congress began. Turlock’s first Government Night was held in 2011 and has since become an annual event.
“As always, the congressman hopes to hear what’s on the minds of constituents,” said Jessica McFaul, Denham’s communications director. “But, it’s important to remember that he does this in many different ways every day through calls and emails that come in to his offices, information relayed through his staff, constituent meetings and district events.”
Questions related to healthcare are sure to be a hot topic at the event, but Denham also expects to field questions related to immigration, water (including storage and infrastructure), veteran’s issues and questions about the Trump Administration’s actions, such as the ongoing FBI investigation into the President’s ties to Russia.
The ACA is a major concern for many District 10 constituents, who with a repeal of the bill would be without healthcare. House Republicans recently unveiled the health care legislation they plan to put in place after dismantling the ACA, the American Health Care Act, but a planned vote to eliminate President Obama’s signature healthcare plan was postponed Thursday.
In a released statement following the introduction of the American Health Care Act, seemed hesitant to support the bill.
“In reviewing this bill, it seems to address many of my constituents’ concerns, including protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing individuals up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance and keeping the ban on lifetime coverage limits. However, I have questions about how it will affect constituents upon implementation, namely those covered under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, and tax credits for working families,” said Denham.
He continued, “This bill is the first of several steps toward a more affordable and patient-centered healthcare system for America, and I will make sure that my constituents’ voices are heard in Washington. I encourage everyone to continue informing me with comments and concerns now that we have text available for review.”
Chiesa will host the upcoming Government Night-Town Hall, and though he and other state and local representatives Flora and Soiseth will be on hand to address community members’ concerns, he expects Denham to receive a majority of the night’s questions.
“Generally, folks don’t come out to visit the mayor and the supervisor,” he said.
If local concerns are brought up at the event, Chiesa expects questions to revolve around school funding.
“The only thing I ask is that no one repeats questions,” said Chiesa. “I’m expecting a really big crowd and am looking forward to a good, civil event.”
The first 2017 Government Night-Town Hall will be held at 6 p.m. April 17 at the Larsa Banquet Hall, 2107 E. Monte Vista Ave. Attendees should arrive prepared to show proof of District 10 residency at the door, and non-residents will be admitted if space allows. For questions, contact Denham’s Modesto office at 209-579-5458 or his Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-4540.