Merkley talks healthcare, Russia at Hood River town hall

Last weekend, the senator held a town hall in Portland

Sen. Jeff Merkley held a town hall in Hood River on Saturday. March 4, 2017, (KOIN)
Sen. Jeff Merkley held a town hall in Hood River on Saturday. March 4, 2017, (KOIN)


HOOD RIVER, Ore. (KOIN) — Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, spoke on recent issues at his town hall in Hood River on Saturday, including healthcare and Russia.

Just last weekend, Merkley held a town hall in Portland.

Questions from constituents at Merkley’s Hood River town hall event ranged from the Affordable Care Act to President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration to gun control and more.

One eighth grade student said they were worried about the country’s direction with limiting gun control laws, saying, “It frightens me.”

One woman asked the senator why he didn’t attend the presidential inauguration, and the crowd yelled at her in response, telling her to stop “reading fake news.” Afterwards, Merkley informed the woman he did attend the inauguration.

After being asked if there was anything he could do about immigrants being deported, the senator said, “We really have to put a freeze on what Trump is doing and be very thoughtful about immigration policy.”

One voter, Joe Carroll, said this was his first town hall. He came to ask about Medicaid.

“If we modify or change the programs the way Medicaid is administered out of the federal system, then it’s really going to hurt states like Oregon and how well we can take care of our children,” he said.

Merkley was also asked about the future of the Affordable Care Act and spoke on its successes, saying, “[Roughly] 500,000 Oregonians have gained access to health care. We have the lowest level of uninsured we’ve had in history.”

The senator didn’t shy away from Russian election interference at his town hall, either.

“This is a very big deal. If anyone coordinates with a foreign power to undermine the integrity of a U.S. election, that is traitorous conduct,” he said.