Knight addresses protesters at SCV office

Advocates for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles march in front of Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita office on May 4, 2017 after the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act.

Health care advocates and constituents rallied at Congressman Steve Knight’s Santa Clarita office on Thursday afternoon.

This was not the first time protesters chanted and held signs outside of the representative’s office since he voted in favor of the American Health Care Act to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Though, this was the first time Knight was at the office to come outside and address the protesters.

A video recording on the SEIU 2015 Facebook page shows Knight interacting with a man who was raising his voice at him on the sidewalk outside his office.

“Sir, trust me,” Knight said.

“Trust you, trust you after you lied to me twice?” the man responded.

The congressman then turned to a woman in a Planned Parenthood shirt while the man continued to talk over him.

“Sir, you’re all done. You did what you wanted to do. You skipped work to come out here and yell at me, good,” Knight said.

The five-minute video shows Knight answer questions from women, one about Planned Parenthood funding, one about the Republican health care bill and the other about help for people with disabilities under Medicaid.

The woman in a Planned Parenthood shirt confronted Knight about comments he made at his town halls that Planned Parenthood’s funding ought to be allocated differently.

“They get $526 million a year. It should be put into a grant system and everyone can apply for it,” Knight said.

She then told the congressman that volunteers had called the 14 health centers he had cited as substitutes for Planned Parenthood in the district and said she was told it would be months before she could book an appointment.

Another woman jumped in and asked Knight what his position on the reformed health care bill was.

“I’ll have to read it at that time,” he said. “I’m not going to say what we’re going to do on a Senate bill. That’s why you go to the senators.”
The woman told Knight she wished he would have been available earlier when more protesters were there so he could talk to his constituents. Knight was at meetings with his constituents during that time, he said.

When another woman expressed concern about cuts to Medicaid funding for people with disabilities, he said funding would “not affect them at all” under the AHCA or ACA.

These concerns were addressed in Rep Tom MacArthur’s (R-New Jersey) amendment to the health care bill, the congressman said.

Disability activists are saying the “exact opposite,” the woman said.

Later in the day, Knight took to his Facebook page to ask constituents not to protest, attaching a link to request a scheduled meeting.

“When I am out in the district or in D.C., my time is spent meeting with constituents, listening to their concerns and priorities,” Knight wrote. “This is also the full-time job of many of my staff in the district. Due to limited scheduling capabilities, we ask that constituents reach out in advance to fill out a request to meet with me or a member of my staff. We also ask that visitors respect other businesses in our buildings by not using signs or chanting. Thank you.”

During his week in the district, Knight also attended a rodeo in Palmdale, a groundbreaking ceremony for veteran homes in Palmdale, a Quartz Hill Chamber of Commerce swearing in ceremony and an opioid round table discussion in Santa Clarita.

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