Town hall with U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal set for Thursday

As part of an ongoing effort to hold town hall meetings throughout her Congressional district, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) is holding one on Vashon Thursday.

In a phone call with The Beachcomber last week, she said that she feels town halls are extremely important and that Vashon Island was “a huge stronghold” for her during the campaign. She described the town hall as “a check-in to talk to people, hear what’s on their mind, share some of what I’ve been working on and also continue to build the movement to make sure that we protect the values of the 7th District.”

Jayapal has been in office for nearly three months and has focused her efforts on fighting President Donald Trump’s immigration orders, health care overhaul and environmental policies. Most recently, she issued a strong statement against one of Trump’s executive orders that states it is in the nation’s interest to “promote clean and safe development of our Nation’s vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.” Critics, including Jayapal, say that the order will dismantle the environmental regulations created during Barack Obama’s presidency.

“This executive order represents more political posturing from a president unwilling to recognize scientific facts,” Jayapal states in a March 28 press release. “It rolls back progress we made under President Obama, puts the climate and public health at risk, all while bailing out the president’s friends in the coal industry.”

Meanwhile, addressing Trump’s immigration orders in a Friday phone call, she called them “horrendous” and said she has been working with both national and local groups to fight the detention of DREAMers — undocumented immigrants who entered the country before the age of 16, are under the age of 31 and have been granted conditional residency.

“Immigration has been one huge piece of the work that we’ve been doing,” she said.

Health care has also been another large part of her work in recent months. She said that while she has always been an advocate for single-payer health care, “there is no question” the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid have increased access to health care for many Americans.

She said that in Washington alone, the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare expansion allowed 600,000 Washingtonians to receive health care coverage, a fact backed up by The Seattle Times. Another 225,000 received private coverage through the state exchange.

“We’ve been fighting very hard on that front,” she said.

House Republicans pulled the TrumpCare bill earlier this month, citing lack of support. In a March 24 press release, she said that if the bill came to the House floor again, “we will organize and defeat it.”

Lastly, as she is a Vice Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, she addressed the president’s budget, which she called the “billionaire’s budget.”

“It slashes the EPA, Puget Sound restoration and climate change and climate restoration action,” she said. “We’re pushing back on the budget. I want to make sure everyone understands what the budget contains. I believe it’s the power of people across the country saying, ‘We wont accept this’ that will make us win.”

Ultimately, she said that she hopes to talk to her constituents, and Vashon’s town hall is one of four scheduled in the area next month. She will also be visiting Seattle, Burien, and Shoreline.

“We’re really making an effort to go out to all those places and be able to meet with constituents,” she said, explaining that she enjoys these types of meetings. “(Town halls) are really important in engaging people in what’s going on and sharing information and ideas and … what’s important.”

The town hall with Pramila Jayapal will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Vashon High School theater. The event will be streamed live by Vashon High School’s Riptide broadcast staff at