On Sunday Feb. 19. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) entered Lane Community College’s auditorium with over 1,000 community members cheering on packed bleachers. Stomps were heard across the building as the Senator took his place at the podium.
President Mary Spilde, state and local government officials were in attendance at the town hall meeting.
Then Wyden asked the audience if this was their first town hall meeting and a large number of people responded with hands raised.
“It’s clear from my first town halls of 2017 so far that Oregonians are coming out in record numbers with real concern,” Wyden said earlier in a press release. “I look forward to continuing the conversations about how to preserve and protect the Oregon way of focusing on solutions.”
Each town hall attendee received a raffle ticket at the welcoming table once in the auditorium. If their ticket number was called they would be allowed to ask one question of the Senator.
During the town hall meeting Senator Wyden cracked jokes and kept the discussion light-hearted — but not everyone was happy with the senator. One community member began his question with positive statements about the senator, then broke loose with stern comments about the Trans Pacific Partnership. Some attendees showed their agreement with applause. Wyden’s opposer of continued yell out from his seat while the senator was countering his questions.
“Fair trade partnerships are killing small countries, it is still happening and all in secret,” Senator Wyden’s counterpart was said.
“I have no position on it, it is dead.” Wyden said, “ I am not going to support anything that ‘guts’ these public health laws of these little countries.”
The crowd roared.
Senator Wyden covered a buffet of topics in his town hall meeting — his concerns of immigration, women’s health and his stance standing against the president’s administration among them. “This is a nation of immigrants, and the Women’s March was fantastic and incredible. “ We have a citizen coalition set up from one end of the country to the other.”
Senator Wyden continued on the topic of women’s rights, ” women have the right to see the doctor they want to.”
Wyden told town hall attendees he forecasts a shift in the Trump supporters in the American government after the President’s Day holiday, the first long weekend since the inauguration.
Wyden told the town hall attendees he projects a shift in the Trump supporters in the American government after the President’s Day holiday, the first long weekend since the inauguration. The Senator forecasts State representatives will encounter backlash from their home states pertaining to the presidential executive orders, and how their representatives stand with them.
Wyden projects state representatives that support the president will return with a new perspective of the president due to their public discussions in their home state.
Senator Wyden also believes community members will react and frankly discuss their opinions of President Trump, and his proposals for changes in the United States.
“We have a tough battle, but we also have ‘friends in high places,’” Wyden commented when asked of the struggle with countering the president’s new policies.
In closing, the senator spoke of standing firm to keep Oregon values and priorities — the crowd stood, cheers of excitement echoed through the auditorium.
The town hall meeting wrapped up in the early evening. The senator answered more community questions and offered time for the media.
Tammy Hodgkinson, an elected school board official for South Lane School District in Cottage Grove attended the town hall meeting. “It was nice to look around and see over 1,000 people come out on a Sunday night to listen to Senator Wyden.”
“I came to support Senator Wyden — I am a huge fan,” Chris Dolan, University of Oregon student of political science and history, commented.
Many town hall attendees mentioned Senator Wyden will take this information back to Washington.
“You don’t have to give up your liberty to have security,” Wyden said throughout the night.
Wyden plans to visit 11 counties across Oregon between Portland and Ashland between Feb.18 and Feb. 25.
Congressman Peter DeFazio will be holding a forum at Lane Community College on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m.- 12 p.m. in Bldg. 5. Following that will be the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means meeting in Building 17 Room 308/309 beginning at 1 p.m..