Local Congress members field questions, debate in town halls

Local town halls draw mix of support, protest
Local town halls draw mix of support, protest
Local town halls draw mix of support, protest
Local town halls draw mix of support, protest
Local town halls draw mix of support, protest
Posted at 1:58 PM, Mar 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-11 16:58:35-05
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three members of Congress who represent San Diego County held town hall meetings with constituents Saturday morning, drawing hundreds of supporters and protesters and standing-room-only crowds.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, hosted two meetings at the Junior Seau Recreation Center gymnasium in Oceanside next to the pier. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, held one at the Ramona Mainstage theater in Ramona. And Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, held her meeting in the Aztec Student Union on the campus of San Diego State University.
Issa was asked by a woman who described herself as an educator and child of the Cold War what he was doing to prod Republicans in Congress to look into the alleged connections between the Russian government and the Trump White House.
"The Russians tried to interfere with our election. The Russians not only are bad actors, but they live off of chaos that they continue to try to create in our country," Issa responded, in between heckling from some protesters in the audience. "Are we going to investigate Russia to the very nth degree on interfering with our election? Yes.
But we also have to stop Russia from their actions around the world that are destabilizing a world and costing American lives," he said.
Issa was interrupted several times during his attempt to answer questions that were drawn randomly.
Questions posed to the representatives throughout the day related to funding Planned Parenthood, healthcare reform, the Environmental Protection Agency, illegal immigration, refugees entering the United States, national security and President Trump's tweets and fitness to hold office, among other topics.
Hunter was asked if he would oppose bills aimed at dismantling the EPA.
"Here's what the EPA has done, they've destroyed American business," Hunter said, to the jeers of many in the audience and cheers from others.
Hunter mentioned a sewage spill from Mexico that closed the beaches in Imperial Beach and Coronado as the most recent environmental disaster in San Diego.
"If that was a U.S. company, they'd be fined $10,000 a day," Hunter said. "But because it's Mexico, no one seems to care about it."
The crowd at the Hunter meeting was standing-room-only at the 300- capacity theater, but the San Diego County Sheriff's Department estimated the crowd at about 1,000 people.
"Although the crowds were significant for the venue, sheriff's deputies conducted both vehicle and foot patrols and maintained a peaceful atmosphere for all in attendance," Sgt. Rob Samuels said. "No arrests were made and the direct interaction between deputies and the attendees received praise as it was both welcomed and appreciated."
The Davis meeting was considerably more subdued at SDSU. During her opening remarks, she said Americans and elected officials in Washington seemed to be more focused on Trump and not the issues.
"We've been so busy defending against terrible executive orders and worrying about the latest, dangerous, 3 a.m. tweet, that we tend to lose focus, really, on the most important issues in front of us, which continue to be jobs and our economy," Davis said. "I think that the president has muddled the waters to distract us from the fact that he's not helping us address the challenges that we face and frankly, I find that frightening."
Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, has a town hall meeting scheduled for Monday evening in the Clairemont High School Auditorium from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Clairemont Mesa.
Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Chula Vista, does not have any public meetings scheduled, according to his congressional web site and Facebook page.