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Bonamici stops in Rainier

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, took questions from constituents about veterans issues, climate policy and the SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, addresses a small crowd at the Rainier Senior Center during a town hall visit she held Tuesday, Aug. 2.Trans-Pacific Partnership during a town hall visit to Rainier Tuesday afternoon.

Bonamici’s brief stop at the Rainier Senior Center was one of six summer town hall meetings planned throughout her district this month.

The congresswoman took pointed questions and pleas for help from two veterans — one with ongoing health issues and another who testified that he is in danger of losing his home.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Bonamici told the men. “You deserve better than the service you’ve been getting.” She directed her staff to look into possible resources for the vets.

Bonamici also talked about the recently adopted, but yet to be ratified TPP, a controversial international trade partnership agreement between the United States and Japan, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Singapore and Brunei. The TPP gets rid of tariffs on some exported goods, like textiles and U.S. agricultural exports, while laying out protections for labor unions, eliminating child and forced labor, and mandating working wages and acceptable work conditions. It also includes provisions for environmental conservations.

Critics argue the deal, which was hammered out in secret, gives corporations too much power and would allow them to sue governments in some cases. Others say the trade rules don’t go far enough to protect workers or the environment in participating countries.

“I’m looking at it very carefully to make sure it’s a good [agreement] for our Oregon businesses,” Bonamici said.

When asked what challenges she foresees after returning from a Congressional recess, she said she and her elected colleagues will need to approve many bills and appropriations during the month of September, and must “focus on the actual legislation that we need to get across the finish line ...”