Congressman Kim Schrier holds telephonic townhall

Rep. Schrier holds telephonic townhall, fields districtwide questions

Story and photo by Gary Bégin

ISSAQUAH (VIA TELEPHONE) – U.S. House Representative Democrat Kim Schrier (WA-8) held a telephonic townhall Wednesday, Dec. 9 and responded to a slew of questions from across her district. The one-hour event had Schrier covering topics from isolationism to COVID-19. Here is some of the Q&A from that night:

“1% of global aid is reasonable,” Schrier said, in response to helping other nations. “Being isolationist backfires.” She said it was important for the U.S. to remain a “leader in the world.”

In regard to outdoor dining, Schrier explained the airborne nature of COVID-19 noting that even outdoor tents can result in spread of the virus if it were overcrowded and not following social distancing guidelines.

Schrier said Voter ID is a reasonable idea to most people, but said it may pose a roadblock to those who don’t drive and therefore have no, or an expired driver’s license.

One caller said the COVID-19 “was just another flu,” but Schrier explained that it really wasn’t. The called wanted to know “why people can’t just go back to living their lives instead of waiting for another stimulus bill” and that he felt he was a hostage in his own home. Schrier re-emphasized the fact that “this is not the flu” and that the nation is fortunate the pandemic is not infecting young people and children to the extent as it does in the rest of the adult population. She said COVID can be caught twice in the same person, is highly asymptomatic and therefore makes it “disrespectful” to not wear a mask, noting this virus is “quite different than the flu" and is “10 times more lethal” specifically pointing to the nationwide death toll.

Another caller said she was against making the questions harder on the citizenship test, especially in light of the English as a second language population. Schrier agreed stating that it “seems punitive” and presents “another hurdle” towards citizenship.

Toxic tire runoff was singled out as the reason for so many deaths among the salmon fingerling populations in and around Puget Sound, according to one caller. Schrier said the issue was being studied. Apparently, when heavy rains wash road grit into sewer drains and then into local waterways, a chemical involved in the manufacture of tire rubber causes death to the fish once deposited into the water.

Schrier called on President Trump to get take the vaccine in public and tell the country it is safe to do so as well as mask-up and stay socially distanced. Schrier said that our country and the world, is polarized and part of that was because we are listening to different news sources which accept or attack science depending on political points of view.

Schrier agreed that students under age 10 should be in school and an “at home” virus rapid test should be developed to families so they can test their children before sending them to school. She noted that, although younger Americans may not get infected as easily as the older population, they can still infect their parents and grandparents living at home, especially in multi-generational households.

Eastern Washingtonians will get the vaccine in a timely manner, she assured one caller from Chelan, but it was a matter of logistics as the Pfizer vaccine needed to be kept at extremely cold storage, -70 degrees, so special freezer units were needed. Schrier, the only pediatrician in Congress, said such freezers were not typically found in smaller clinics, but were usually in larger hospitals.

Schrier tackled a question from Auburn regarding a business owner who was upset that his previously received stimulus money would be taxable, per the IRS, and so it would be a great financial harm to his company. She said “it was not Congresses intent to hit” stimulus recipients with a tax bill and that she wanted the PPP money to not be taxed. Schrier said the 8th District has received 12,000 loans from the previous bailout and saved 100,000-plus jobs in the process.

Rep. Schrier complained about the “highly gerrymandered” Congressional districts across the nation which leads to House members pandering to their political bases and not willing to open dialogs in order to compromise on many issues. She said she would call on her pediatrician background to “teach members to learn to play nicely with one another in the sandbox.”

In her answer to yet another COVID-19 question, Schrier stated that isolation at home can cause PTSD, anxiety and depression among the elderly and teenage populations. It also meant less exercising leading to weight gain. Schrier recommended constituents go to the state website for more information on getting help to combat the pandemic.

A Seattle Seahawks question came up regarding why the Seahawks can field a team and play close contact football games while small retail shops can’t even stay open. The caller said it sounded like rich entities were getting favorable treatment as opposed to smaller companies with little lobbying power. Schrier explained why the Seahawks were allowed to play, stating it was a matter of getting tested constantly, isolating themselves in a cocoon or “bubble” and thus not mixing themselves in with the rest of the potentially infected population.

One caller stated his unemployment money just ran out and his wife’s was about to and they are expecting a baby soon so why wasn’t there more urgency for a new stimulus bill. Schrier said both sides of the aisle were still in negotiations to get that done before the end of the year.

For more information from Rep. Schrier call (509)-850-5340 to speak to her Wenatchee (Central Washington) office.

Editor's Note: A new stimulaus package has been approved and signed by President Trump. 





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