“There’s a lot of pent-up demand in this district,” said Congresswoman Angie Craig (DFL-MN) as a number of people were still lined up to ask questions as her first town hall was minutes away from its scheduled one-hour end time. Craig had been critical of Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN), who she defeated last fall, for holding very few in-person town hall meetings and limiting access to them. Craig let the meeting at the Burnsville High School run past its scheduled end time and took several more questions.
Unlike the few town halls that Lewis held, most of the questions she faced were not confrontational. Constituent questions about climate change, health care, immigration and other issues were framed from mostly the same perspective Craig held.
A man who identified himself as a gun owner and a veteran asked Craig to support universal criminal background checks for gun sales and “red flag” laws. Two such measures had been reintroduced into the Minnesota legislature this week. Craig said background check laws in other states had reduced suicides and that we need a debate in congress about “common sense gun legislation.” She said she supports the Second Amendment, but with that comes a responsibility to reduce gun violence in the US.
Craig stated that climate change is real, humans contribute to it and it is a risk to national security. She said it needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. “We’re not running fast enough.”
Asked about single-payer health care, Craig says we need to change how we pay for health care so everyone can have it. She cited laws that prevent the government from negotiating with drug companies to lower prices for Medicare recipients as an example. She said she would stand up to drug companies that she said are among several reasons health care costs keep going up.
An immigrant who is in the US legally asked Craig about pathway to citizenship. Craig said she will work towards comprehensive immigration reform and border security — acknowledging that barriers may be needed in some places. But she said it’s a “false choice” to say you can only do one or the other.
Finally, on the government shutdown that just ended, Craig said one silver lining is it has given the nation a deeper appreciation of government workers — calling them “heroes.”
Craig then committed to holding town hall meetings every month.
Video is courtesy of Eagan Television.