Congresswoman Schrier Town Hall

Schrier holds first 'Town Hall' in Wenatchee,
establishes Congressional office for NCW

Story and photos by Gary Bégin, NCW Media
WENATCHEE -- A town hall meeting was held by newly elected 8th Congressional District Democrat Dr. Kim Schrier as Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz emceed and hosted the event in the packed city hall council chambers meeting room Saturday, Feb., 23.
Kuntz announced a new Congressional office has been established within the Wenatchee City Hall offices on the third floor of the old Federal Building, now partially owned and operated by the city of Wenatchee and LocalTel.
Schrier, speaking to a highly partisan audience urged to attend by "Indivisible Wenatchee" Facebook group, ironically spoke about the need for bipartisan legislation to deal with healthcare and immigration issues, including the H2A guest worker program used by many NCW orchardists. She also said she has joined a group called the "New Dems" which is comprised of the 101 newly elected Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives who were swept into office by the so-called "Blue Wave" of the 2018 election.
Schrier, a pediatrician, promised to work towards "affordable options that every family could afford" in regards to healthcare. She said health related debt was the "number one cause of bankruptcy" in America.
Schrier emphatically said she does not support "open borders," but stated she supports a "good guest worker program."
Schrier spoke about the need to have a long term plan to keep Social Security "solvent" and added that the long-standing program was "not a bonus," but something "we pay into."
Many on the panel and in the audience were advocates of feeding the poor and mitigating forest fires.
Schrier said she purposely lobbied to be placed on the Agricultural Committee so she could address issues such as "thinning forests" and "fresh food programs."
Schrier also said she will be advocating for increased funding of solar, wind and battery energy programs.
Schrier said she will be back in Washington, D.C. by Tuesday, Feb., 26 to vote against President Trump's "National Emergency" executive order regarding building a wall on the Souther Border with Mexico. Kuntz announced to the audience that he was impressed by the turnout and wished he could get such a crowd for city council meetings, but more importantly, a new Congressional office has been established.
It is on the third floor of the old Federal Building, now partially owned and operated by the city of Wenatchee and LocalTel.
Kuntz said he felt relations between the city and Congresswoman Schrier were so important that he decided to create an office for her district case worker Tyler Mackay.
Mackay used to work for retired Republican Congressman Dave Reichert and said he will be performing the same functions with Schrier.
Mackay's main duties therefore, will be speaking to Federal agencies on behalf of constituents on the east side of Schrier's district. Those agencies include the Social Security Administration, oddly enough, its Wenatchee office is literally headquartered across the Second Floor hallway from the city council chambers.
He will also be the official Schrier liaison for Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Forest Service and any other Federal agencies where a need exists for intervention or better communication.
Panel members included newly elected Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert said he was "happy to hear she (Schrier) is on the Agricultural Committee" because "83% of Chelan County" is controlled by the United States Forest Service. Bugert said the USFS is a "major player" in Chelan County regarding such diverse issues as wildfires, irrigation water, grizzly bears and the all-important PILT program. PILT is an acronym for Payment in Lieu of Taxes - a federal program that reimburses counties throughout America for property owned by the federal government and therefore not subjected to county land taxes. The PILT program forms the backbone of many rural counties in the country and helps them build infrastructure and other needful projects.
Kuntz spoke briefly about Wenatchee not being on an interstate like other Eastern Washington cities and how important it is to get federal funding to finish the Apple Capital Loop road construction project.
He said he worked hard to get this done with Schrier's predecessor Dave Reichert and would continue his efforts.
Schrier spoke on other topics including:
• Her staff would be looking into the re-establishment of a post office in East Wenatchee as suggested by an East Wenatchee resident.
• She believes in a "path to citizenship" for the 11 million undocumented aliens currently in the country, but also a stronger guest worker program.
• Schrier is for Planned Parenthood and wants "politicians to keep out of the exam room." She stated birth control reduces the amount of unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions.
• She is against building a wall on the Mexican border.
• She did not want to pull out of the Paris Climate accord and now calls for "American ingenuity" to reduce greenhouse gases by heavily investing in battery technology/energy storage, wind and solar power.
• The increasing federal deficit must be addressed by utilizing "political will" on both sides of the aisle to make needed spending cuts, but also to spend less.
• Wants a tri-lateral summit between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. to discuss mutual issues such as trade, immigration and environmental issues.
• Said veterans should not have to wait 30 days for service, but two days.
• Wants a new tax plan for America, stating "trickle-down never trickles down to working families."
Schrier concluded her first NCW Town Hall by saying she wished more Congressional districts were "purple" like this one, meaning a blend of conservative (red) and liberal (blue) voters. She said the mix of constituents would spur more bipartisan support across many issues.

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