Congressman Garamendi holds town hall at Veteran’s Memorial Theater
On Feb. 12, Congressman John Garamendi hosted a town hall in the Veteran’s Memorial Theatre on 14th Street.
Garamendi represents the 3rd Congressional District of California, which encompasses several counties north and west of Sacramento. He has served as a member of the House of Representatives since 2013.
A crowd of constituents large enough to fill the theatre gathered to hear Garamendi speak — a number of attendees even stood up around the back wall of the venue due to a lack of empty seats.
From the start of the event, Garamendi seemed to be focused on addressing the concerns of citizens in the new political climate and urging everyone present to remain politically active.
During the town hall, he commented on President Trump’s frequent tweets, saying that they “sucked the oxygen away.” The statement was met with shouts of approval and some applause from audience members before he continued.
“Here’s what you can do, and you’re doing, and you have to get your neighbors to do it,” Garamendi said. “You have to pay attention, you have to get past the […] constant tweets, and you’ve got to hone down on what is happening. Don’t become psychotic […] you’ve got to be paying attention and you’ve got to organize.”
Garamendi, a House Democrat, also acknowledged the Republican majority in the House and the Senate. Currently, 54 out of 100 Senators and 246 out of 435 House members are Republican; this is the largest conservative-dominated Congress ratio since 1971.
With a Republican Congress combined with a Republican president, Democratic voters across the United States have expressed fear that this will interrupt the government’s system of checks and balances, which are meant to keep any one group in the federal government from becoming too powerful or influential. As a solution, Garamendi stressed the importance of voting.
“We are 18 months away from the next election, in which the opportunity to change Congress and the Senate exists,” Garamendi said, which was met with a round of applause. “It’s a tough time. This is going to be a very, very difficult period. But, […] Congress is up for election. 435 of us in 18 months.”
Garamendi began taking questions from a very antsy audience; some shouted out to him to attract his attention, even as he made an attempt to quiet the room and take one question at a time.
One woman stood up to ask, “What will you do if Trump changes the abortion laws?”
He did not elaborate much on the issue.
“Possibly, [The Supreme Court] will. There’s been an effort all seven years I’ve been [in office],” Garamendi said.
Several other questions arose that were noticeably circumvented by Garamendi including a question concerning his position on the possibility of deportations in the Davis area and his position on the elimination of factory farms.
Concerning deportation, however, the Congressman commented that California may become a sanctuary state, a statement which was met with applause, but no further elaboration.
Another woman in the audience stated: “I’m really worried about the refugees and the immigrants […] Some of the most brilliant minds in our country are Muslim and come from many other countries [and] cultures.”
Garamendi responded to this by immediately expressing his abhorrence of the recent ban on travel and immigration.
“It was wrong in many different ways,” Garamendi said. “In my view, and in the court’s view […] they saw this as a religious ban on Muslims, and that is both unconstitutional and it is clearly un-American.”
Garamendi went on to say that the ban deprived America of important people; he made a reference to Davis’ student body and the number of students and scholars from UC Davis that were unable to travel as a result of the ban.
The White House is expected to issue a revised version of the order in the next few days.
“Hopefully […] [Trump] will be more careful and will not tread the same road he has already tread,” Garamendi said. “If he does […] all of the pushback from the public will re-occur. We’ll see if he’s a fast learner or doesn’t learn at all.”
In addition to providing his input on current immigration issues, Garamendi detailed his own ideas for what he called “comprehensive immigration reform.”
“We’re not [going to] build a wall […] it’s not gonna stop anybody, “ Garamendi said. “There are 10, 12 million illegal immigrants […] all of whom are working, have children […] we need to regularize this. Recognize that they are here. If they care to, [give them] a path for citizenship. Get this done.”
Overall, the event was well received by the enthusiastic audience Garamendi attracted which consisted of in person attendees as well as an audience from an online stream that received over 1,200 views. He was very well-liked by the audience and seemed determined to keep his constituents informed by urging them to vote and inviting those interested to watch the C-Span footage of every upcoming session of Congress.
Those interested can watch the event on Garamendi’s Facebook page.
Written by: Caitlyn Sampley — email@example.com