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Bonamici town hall tackles issues

The congresswoman answers on trade, immigration, education and other topics

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici completed the last of six town hall meetings in Dundee Aug. 11, answering questions from about a dozen constituents at the Dundee Community Center.

The big topic early on in the gathering, which also drew a handful of local officials, was trade as Bonamici was pressed on her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). SETH GORDON - Rep. Suzanne Bonamici answers questions at a town hall meeting Aug. 11 at the Dundee Community Center.           The Congresswoman covered topics such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, health care, Social Security, Medicaid,     immigration policy and education at her final town hall meeting of the summer in Oregon's 1st Congressional District.

Sherwood resident Max Greenwood asked Bonamici why such important legislation had been allowed to be “fast-tracked” and pressed her to take a position on the trade agreement.

A second resident noted that most major environmental groups were against the agreement and asked why Bonamici hasn’t made a decision on it.

The congresswoman, who will face Republican challenger and Dundee sales representative Brian Heinrich in November for her 1st District seat, reiterated how she plans to approach making that decision, but did not come out for one side or the other.

She said that for any trade agreement to receive her support, it would have to have strong enforcement and include protections for the environment and for labor rights, but that she is still “going through and looking at all of those provisions” in the TPP.

Greenwood was not particularly pleased with Bonamici’s answer or her reticence to take a position on TPP, but did say he found the town hall meeting to be helpful and interesting.

“I think this is pretty good,” Greenwood said. “This is the first time I’ve been to one of these.”

Bonamici also fielded questions about immigration, mental health, education and Social Security during the meeting and afterward expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to hear directly from the people she represents.

Said Bonamici: “The ideas and concerns I heard from my constituents will inform the work I do in Washington, D.C., as I develop and implement solutions to the challenges we face in Oregon and across the country.”