The room was mostly filled with locals donning pink Planned Parenthood buttons and holding up green “agree” signs more often than not.
Following suit of several other “adopt a district” events around the country, CA25 United for Progress hosted a town hall-style event Friday night and invited Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) to speak. These town halls have taken place across the country after House Republicans voted in favor of the American Health Care Act, inviting Democrat congress members to talk with constituents in Republican-held districts.
Philip Germain, chair of the group, put on the event in effort to have Knight (R-Palmdale) hold a town hall in Santa Clarita as he did in Palmdale and Simi Valley.
CA25 United for Progress’ event came one day after Congressman Steve Knight held a town hall in Santa Clarita. The progressive group announced their event four days before Knight announced his.
“Hi, I’m Judy Chu and I am your neighbor,” the congresswoman began.
The event was open to the public and people of every party, though the room was comprised of mostly Democrats. Moderator and candidate for the 38th Assembly District Christy Smith encouraged the audience to be respectful of viewpoints different than their own.
“We’re just all approaching it in a slightly different way,” Smith said.
As a group of men in red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats shouted, “Judy Chu go home,” Smith called for a “timeout.”
While Chu continued speaking over their jeers, one attendee shouted, “Judy Chu come home!” in support of her.
“My voice will always be loud and clear,” Chu said over them as the rest of the room gave her a standing ovation. “We must stand up.”
Chu answered questions solely about Federal issues and repeatedly encouraged civic engagement about topics constituents care about.
“Do you know what can stop Congress from going down this road? It’s you the people,” she said.
Attendees questioned her opinion on many of President Donald Trump’s recent actions. Regarding the Paris climate agreement, Chu emphasized the impact the action would have on relationships with other countries.
“It diminishes America’s role in this world,” she said.
Chu dove into discussion on the American Health Care Act, calling it “cruel and unjust.”
“This bill does so many horrendous things,” she said. “One of the districts that have had the best use of Medicaid is this very congressional district.”
One man asked Chu about Medicare and Medicaid and what the AHCA would do to affect those programs.
“(Medicare) is so essential to the long-term care of our elderly,” she said. “What the Trump bill did is take away from the Medicare trust fund.”
To prevent the bill from becoming law, Chu said there needed to be pressure put on the Senate.
Discussing President Trump’s recent budget proposal, Chu spoke about her concern with the cuts it would make to the Environmental Protection Agency, Meals on Wheels and education.
“This budget is not what is best for all, it’s a boon to military contractors,” she said. “Not a single dollar of our American taxes will go to building this wall.”
One guest said she thought America should have a tighter national budget and asked Chu what she thought about decreasing the national debt.
Chu told the constituent that she was “so for” a system that helps the middle class and the elderly and aids youth in getting education. The Congresswoman also said the budget should not give more money to the military or the wealthy.
She affirmed she believed the president should “of course” release his tax returns as presidents have done for the past 40 years.
Chu shared that she attended the Women’s March, the March for Science and went to LAX after the announcement of the Muslim ban.
In anticipation of the midterm elections, the Congresswoman said everyone in D.C. is looking to California to the seats where Hillary Clinton won the election to get Knight and other vulnerable Republicans out of office.
“You can change the outcome of the 2018 election.”
This statement was met with loud chants of “Knight Out!”
An attendee asked Chu what was being done regarding gerrymandering to manipulate elections, which Chu said needed to change in the state legislature.
When asked about the investigation on Trump’s involvement with Russia, Chu pointed to former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming testimony at trial and said not to worry about Trump firing more FBI staff.
“That would be a Nixon-type move, and it didn’t turn out that well for Nixon,” she said.
A Marine Corps veteran and law enforcement officer, who said he is a conservative, said Democrats have remained silent about law enforcement and even “demonized” police officers.
Chu said she and other Democrats do support law enforcement and said she did not believe everyone in the country is against officers. Dialogue must continue in order to stop violence between officers and civilians, she said.
In light of Trump’s executive order to review all national monuments, Chu said Trump did this because he wants to drill oil in some of these locations, and emphasized her desire to keep monuments intact.
On Twitter as @ginaender