The vast majority of people who turned up to a town hall with Congressman Derek Kilmer at the 7th Street Theater in Hoquiam expressed deep concern about what’s going on in Washington D.C.
“Right now, I feel helpless and frightened. What can we do to stop that from happening,” asked one audience member worried about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“It is helpful when you show up to an event like this,” responded Rep. Kilmer who went on to talk about citizen engagement.
Some constituents asked about immigration; another asked if Kilmer supports the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“As story continues to unfold, it’s clear he intentionally mislead the United States Senate, and he should resign. I will advocate for that,” Rep. Kilmer said to loud cheers.
“I see things completely different than you see them,” challenged one voter, one of a couple of Republicans who stood up to speak during the town hall.
“I’m looking for a way that it can all be brought out fairly and honestly,” he continued.
“I’m grateful that you’re here,” responded Kilmer.
Representative Kilmer, a Democrat, recognizes he’s serves a split district.
“I represent six counties, three of the six voted for President Trump. The common denominator among them is they’ve had persistent economic challenges,” Kilmer told KING 5 in an interview prior to the town hall.
Grays Harbor County, once a booming timber town, has seen economic decline and job loss over the years. It’s a factor that likely contributed to the longtime Democratic stronghold voting for President Trump in November. The County turned red for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1928.
“He’s done everything he said he was going to do, and I knew he would,” said Buster Emery.
“He wants to bring this country back to where it was,” added his friend George Vukich.
KING 5 first introduced you to Buster Emery and his friend George Vukich last Fall. They supported then candidate Trump long before his unprecedented upset over Hillary Clinton.
“He’s going make America better. He can’t make it worse,” said Emery.
“He’s the voice of the people. Congress has got to get their head out fantail. work together instead of fighting each other. Republicans and Democrats you got to come together and make this country what it used to be way back when.
But, lawmakers remain deeply divided over key issues from healthcare to immigration, as complicated policy debates lie ahead.
KING 5 asked Congressman Kilmer if common ground can be found in some of the areas that unite voters, especially the ones in Grays Harbor County: infrastructure and economy.
“You heard the President’s speech earlier this week where he talked about trying to grow the economy, grow American jobs. He talked about infrastructure. He talked about a number of things that Democrats and Republicans can agree on,” said Kilmer. “But, actually making progress on those things requires specifics. It requires actually developing a plan, and frankly it requires dialing down some of the more divisive rhetoric so we can set the table for bi-partisanship.”