Pennsylvania Townhalls

Ask them anything!
#586
08:01 Marc: I'm not a paid protester, but the one privilege that I do get for organizing today's event is to ask the first question and so I would like to do that. And to me it's a tremendously important one and it is this.

Congressman Thompson do you agree with many people, including as of last night Representative Darrell Issa, that we need to have a special prosecutor appointed to look into the connections between the Trump administration and Russia? And if you don't, why not?

08:57 Good afternoon, Representative Thompson, my name is Leah and I live in the 5th Congressional District. I've lived there since 1976, and I vote in every primary and general election.

My two year old grandson Grant was born with polycystic kidney disease which is genetic. There is no cure, but it is treatable. PKD patients frequently belong to a progression of kidney failure, dialysis and sometimes transplants.

My grandson is currently covered under his parents' health insurance. But what if their employer changes the terms of their coverage, or if his parents lose their insurance? What is Grant going to do on his own?

The recently released, just a couple of days ago, House GOP blueprint to replace the Affordable Care Act includes a proposal to distribute state innovation grants to fund high risk pools. But the policy document provides no funding details. Without enough federal aid, states could be faced with picking up the rest of the tab. Is budget strapped Pennsylvania going to fill the gap with a high risk pool?

Representative Thompson, if my grandson can not afford the premiums in a high risk pool, can he have your insurance policy? Because my grandson deserves to live as much as you do.

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10:32 David, I'm a physician in town, my wife and I moved here in 1978. I was an elected official in Ferguson Township for two terms which is eight years, I was also the chair at the hospital for the physicians for three. So I know about elected positions and I know what it is to represent people.

I'm here today to sound an alarm. Our democracy is being threatened and Representative Thompson is AWOL. Whether you're a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green Party or Libertarian, we must all stand together to take back our democracy.

Trump and Bannon have stated that the media is the enemy. In the words of Senator McCain, a past Republican nominee for president, eliminating the free press is the first step to a dictatorship. Where is our Representative Thompson in defending the press which is our constitutional guarantee? Will he always be a Trump yes-man?

Fair and free open elections are fundamental to a democracy. Gerrymandering, voter ID laws, fewer polling places in minority districts, intimidation at the polls - all erode our democracy. Where is Representative Thompson in defending our basic rights? Will he always be a Trump yes-man?

Republicans and Democrats have called for an independent investigation for the Russian hacking of our elections. Where is Representative Thompson? Does he think that Putin is a great leader like his boss Trump? Will he always be a Trump yes-man?

Representative Thompson, we are your constituents, not your opposition. We are your allies in defending our democracy. It is time to stand up to your boss Trump, it is time to say no. This might be the first time in your political career when you are called upon to do the right thing at the most fundamental level. If you can't stand up to the bully, then gracefully resign and allow another one to step in your place.

With whatever your political affiliation, we must all stand together to ensure our democracy will survive. If you have never been active in politics before, now is the time to act and we must act together. Dictators divide and conquer, whether you're African-American, Latino or White, whether you're a recent immigrant or the grandchild of an immigrant, whether you're a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist, whether you are rich or poor, whether you're a student or professor, we all must act together.

The only person missing today is Representative Thompson. I have only one thing to say: show or go.

13:52 My name is Pam, I live in Ferguson Township and I was not paid to be here.

Mr. Thompson I would like to ask you, if you're so concerned about saving jobs, why aren't you concerned about saving the healthcare jobs that we're going to lose if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?

Healthcare is the second largest employer in this district. You were willing to vote to allow the debris from mountain top mining to be dumped into streams in order to save jobs. Why don't you want to save the jobs in healthcare that make us healthier instead of sicker?

15:12 Good afternoon, Mr. Thompson. My name is Jay. I've been in your office a few times and we've had a couple of conversations throughout these past years. It's been a while though since our last, the previous election.

But something has come to my attention over the last few days especially. Stepping outside, I'm not sure if any of the people have noticed how pleasant it has been the past few days.

I have a map here displaying what's been going on over the United States for the month of February. This is temperature anomaly, Mr. Thompson. We are standing on setting a record for the month of February. We have definitely set a huge record for the month of February for the number of record highs across the nation: 4,400 and we have a few days left to go. And record lows? Well, maybe it's bouncing up. Sorry, only highs.

See, things have been going pretty bad for a while in our country. We've been trying to get your attention. A majority of us do believe now, an increasing number actually, that there's something going on with our atmosphere. And that perhaps we may be the cause. But your boss is denying this. He continues to say that it's not true, that it's made up, that it's an invention of some other country. I'm having a serious problem with this, and yes I do spend nights awake, worrying about this. As I mentioned, probably a few of you as well.

Now, is there something that could be done? You know there is. We have the technology, we've had it. We've known for decades that the Dakotas alone could power our nation with wind power. Ten times the amount of electricity that we need to power our country.

Then there's the potential for solar power. The folks that I've talked to in the solar industry say the prices are coming down. It's been getting competitive with natural gas. Can you believe that? That's another one we can do. How many of you agree with that?

And how many people could we employ in these industries? How much could they make... (applause) ...train these people. Could possibly have an education beyond high school, and become a... I don't mean to point fingers here or put anybody down or anything, but become incredible citizens that contribute to this country beyond their jobs. We have to have potential, and there are people out there, there are leaders out there that know that.

And I think that if you can't show up to do this, I think you should go.

18:15 So my name is Kelly, and I am here to talk to Mr. Thompson about the environment as well.

I worry all the time about global warming. We're seeing catastrophic amounts of rain in California right now after five years of drought. It's not really going to help farmers very much, because a lot of it is causing erosion and mudslides, and not necessarily going to be able to be used in southern California where they're still having problems.

But moreover, I don't understand why you would vote to allow coal debris to be dumped into our streams. Does anybody forget what it was like here years ago when the streams were all orange and people couldn't drink out of them? There were no fish.

Look at how that is going to impact rural areas where farmers have to water their livestock. Families are going to have to haul water because they can't drink out of the streams. That's what it was like in Pennsylvania and in western Virginia, and it took a long, long time to get better and now we're going backwards.

He's also sponsoring, you are sponsoring, a bill to allow methane to be released in large amounts and not have to be captured. We have the technology to stop that. And it's causing incredible amounts of, it's a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide . In addition, some of these emissions are toxic to people.

So I don't understand why you're doing this, when we could be doing renewable energy. It is cost competitive. You know I was just reading the other day that China is the number one supplier and maker of solar panels. Why are we so far behind? Even when it comes to wind energy we're way behind even Denmark. Denmark is number one, China number two, we're number three on making wind turbines, and employing them we're way behind that.

So we need to get our act together, and you're not doing your job.

20:46 My name is Jim from State College. I wrote a letter to Representative Thompson and I thought I would deliver it today, save myself a stamp.

Representative Thompson, there are so many issues that currently concern me that I frankly don't know where to begin. Instead, perhaps I can simply summarize my feelings into a question that myself and many of my friends have been asking: what has happened to honor and decency?

I was raised in a Christian household where my mother worked for the church. My grandfather, my father (a good Eisenhower Republican), and myself all served in the U.S. Navy. My grandfather was a fireman and my dad was a cop. Though they're both deceased, I believe I can speak for them and say that they loved their community and their country, and showed it with their service.

I, too, love my community and my country. But I am saddened by the values that characterize the direction we seem to be heading. Everyday I see more anger, divisiveness and bigotry than I've ever seen before. My family, my church and the U.S. Navy all taught me inclusiveness, cooperation and respect. (applause) I also learned that disagreeing on issues is not a license for degradation or humiliation of an individual, but rather it serves as a opportunity for personal growth.

My community includes those of many faiths, origins, genders, sexual orientations and political identities. I am grateful for the part that each one of them has played in making me who I am. To all of them, and to my friends who live abroad, I find myself wanting to apologize for the insensitivity and abrasiveness of our leaders. This is not the America that I volunteered to serve, and this is not the America I learned to love.

Whatever did happen to honor and decency? As my representative in the government that I thought championed those ideals, I look to you to take a bold stand and return America to its rightful place as their, and our, standard bearer. I always thought America was great, this isn't.

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23:56 Chuck, Representative Thompson, I've heard a phrase, I'm not sure who I'm quoting, that those who don't study history are condemned to repeat it. The Glass-Steagal act was taken away and the financial community drove our economy into the deepest recession that we had seen since the Depression, and headed very much toward another depression.

Dodd-Frank was instituted and signed by President Obama. Dodd-Frank is flawed and it needs revision. It went too far as often reactions to that type of situation do.

But what you and your associates are attempting to do is eliminate all of the financial support and financial guards that we have added in the past, allowing the financial community to go back and do the same things that they did previously, and drive us into a similar situation. And at that time you were continuing to support the President's appointment of people, into his cabinet and into his support system, that were responsible for the demise, the bankruptcy of tens of millions of Americans.

Including Senator Toomey, and including cabinet members, why are you supporting this? Why are you supporting the situation of allowing the financial community to do us harm? Thank you.

25:54 Representative Thompson, my name is Peter. We've spoken a couple of times before and I've been calling your office and leaving messages. Not having very much luck, as I think many of the people here.

I want to talk to you about something really quite personal. On November 3 1979, five people were killed in Greensboro North Carolina and ten were injured. They were killed by the Ku Klux Klan. One of them was my friend's father.

It is absolutely unconscionable to me that Steve Bannon is in the White House. You need to kick him out. White supremacy, white supremacists have no place in the governance of our country. You are a representative of all of the people of the fifth district. That means that you represent people of all ethnicities, all creeds, and all colors.

Someone of the stated views of Mr. Bannon must not be there. I expect, and all of the people here today expect, that you will personally speak up and speak against Mr. Bannon's hatred and bigotry, and have him removed from any... (applause) ...administration. Thank you.

28:26 Hi, I'm David and I live in Bellefont.

What I'll talk about is in regards to the Yemen raid. In regards to the Yemen raid: we failed to kill the primary target, civilians were killed, the enemy resistance was stronger than anticipated, and Donald Trump's Twitter account was active during the raid.

So, my question to you is, number one, how many Benghazi investigations have been conducted? I know the answer because I looked it up, but I want to hear you say it.

And then, my second question is, are you going to want an investigation into this failed raid? Thank you.

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29:22 Good afternoon Mr. Thompson. My name is Melissa and I live in Ferguson township.

I work in public health and I'm really concerned right now about the current administration's attack on public health. We're seeing a two-pronged attack right now.

First: the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Here in Congressional District 5, 49,565 people are projected to lose coverage with the repeal. That includes high subsidy exchange enrollees and those covered by Medicaid expansion. But those are not the only people that will suffer with the repeal of the ACA.

Anyone on an employer based plan also has benefited enormously from the ACA. It ensures coverage of pre-existing conditions, it allows dependents to stay on their parents' coverage until age 26, limits out of pocket costs, prohibits annual or lifetime limits on coverage, ensures the right to an independent repeal of a health plan's decision to deny benefits, and importantly for public health it provides prevention services without cost sharing. These are things like mammograms, immunizations and check-ups. It also ensures that women can get affordable contraception and if you are actually pro-life then you should be doing everything in your power... (applause).

Second attack on public health: the current administration is set on rolling back federal regulations that ensure our air is safe to breath and our water is safe to drink. Mr. Thompson, you have been complicit in these efforts with the repeal of several environmental protections already. These protections on the environment are critical to protecting our health, and this includes taking action to prevent climate change.

While we probably all enjoyed being outdoors yesterday in the 70 degree February weather, climate change is actually very bad for our health. A few of the implications: increased asthma, increased allergies, increased cardio-vascular disease with air pollution. More Lyme disease and West Nile virus as the increased rate of ticks and mosquitoes. Increased allergies as I've mentioned, with allergans in the air for longer periods. An increased rate of illnesses with heat waves, injuries and fatalities from severe weather, greater food insecurity as farmers struggle with these changes, shall I go on? I think not.

So, my question to you Mr. Thompson, first does the health of your constituents matter to you? If so, what is your plan to replace the ACA? What is your justification for repealing it in the first place, rather than working to improve it? What steps are you taking to ensure that every environmental regulation that you help roll back is offset by strong public health protections? Or can we assume that you are choosing to back the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our children's health?

A few more questions, what is your plan for addressing climate change? And finally, if your constituents match the half a million dollars that you have received from the fossil fuel industry, can we pay you to vote in our interests?

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33:32 I'm Amber, I'm a resident of Ferguson township. I've been here since '94.

I have a lot of concerns with the stuff that President Trump is doing. I am a Republican, did not vote for him, wasn't for most of what's going on. I have supported Glenn Thompson in the past and I know you have been very forthcoming in your answers to me but I was disappointed that you weren't having a town hall face-to-face this week during recess. See, they're not out to get you.

But I do have concerns also about a lot of the legislation coming forth and I just read of this one yesterday, that is House H.R. Bill 610. It repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and its many amendments added since. I'm reading my own Facebook post, I'm not good at remembering this stuff.

But it really affects a bunch of groups, which would be those who are minorities, disabled, economically disadvantaged, special needs, and all kinds of supports that would stem from this legislation. Also touching on the school lunch stuff and repealed some things which I thought were helpful for children in their nutrition.

But I don't understand. You're on the Education and the Workforce Committee and one of your fellow committee people is the person that initiated this legislation and I would really like to know your position on it. I know you're not a co-sponsor right now or anything, so I'm a little hopeful. I'm very worried about these broad legislative steps that are being proposed or being taken by the president who... OK, if you didn't like Obama doing executive orders, that's kind of what you are doing.

I would really, really like to hear your opinions on all of these issues that are brought up and the rest that will. Because we are listening to what you are doing, and most of us are not one issue people. We understand that some of these are nuanced legislation and everything, not black and white, but some of this is just unacceptable.

36:49 My name is Jeff, I've lived in State College about 200 years, maybe 199.

There are big points to be made here and there are seemingly little points. I want to make a seemingly little point. When Glenn Thompson went to Penn State, his special area of study was therapeutic recreation. I was in the department, I was a professor of his. He was going to devote his life to making things better for people with disabilities. A noble calling.

However my question is, the first time he heard the Republican candidate for president mock a handicapped person who was simply trying to do his job, why didn't something go off in your brain Mr. Thompson? What was lacking?

And what was lacking in that reaction and that decision, is lacking in the entire administration we've seen in front of us. So to Mr. Thompson I say: no guts, no glory.

38:48 First of all I'd like to thank the organizers. So Mr. Thompson, my name is Virginia, maybe you've seen that written on postcards, or faxes, or recognize it from your voicemail. Or maybe you don't. And I am not a paid protester. You can believe me because I'm a graduate student.

But my question for you is a simple yes or no question, and that's: have you ever felt unsafe on the streets? You're a strong, set, straight white man so I suspect the answer is probably no. You haven't felt very unsafe on the street.

But me, even as a straight white woman here in the bubble of State College, I've been shouted at, I've been grabbed, and I have it easy. I think so dearly (?) about people who are antagonized more because it's maybe more apparent. Whether it's because they're wearing a hijab, or a yarmulke, or if it's their skin tone or what. These people are persecuted every day on the streets and then some of them go home only then to be kicked out, because maybe they are DREAMers, or maybe they're immigrants, or maybe their homes aren't safe because they are in another country and they are just trying to come here to find refuge.

And so, you may feel safe here, but what are we going to help people who aren't? Or who are trying to find safety? So can you commit to legislature that protects those vulnerable groups, whether it's based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, identity, you name it. Will you commit to protect everyone and truly be pro-life?

41:16 Hello Representative Thompson, my name is Constance. I live in College Township, I am a registered voter in your district.

I have one question and one offer of assistance. My question is that recent studies show that the rate of teen suicides has significantly dropped since same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states, and that what accounted for the largest percent of of that difference was LGBT teens.

My question is: what are you personally going to do to protect our LGBT teens now that the administration has repealed some of the protections that were in place to do that and that really made a difference? What are you personally going to do to protect these horribly young people in a climate in which hate crimes against all kinds of diverse people sky-rocketed in recent years due to the tenor of what's coming out of the White House. What are you personally going to do to insure we protect these very vulnerable young people?

My offer of assistance is this: I was at the rally at your office on Thursday afternoon. During the extremely brief period of time that your staff member was out there, he explained that his office, all of your staff, have been overwhelmed and unable to respond in a timely manner to e-mails, phone calls, letters, requests for appointments, because they've simply been too overwhelmed by the volume.

I can understand that. Your district, thanks to gerrymandering, covers a very large area. You need us to help you advocate to have your district lines redrawn. More local, truly local representation, so that you would be able to respond in your constituents in a timely manner. Who's willing to help?

44:15 Hi Representative Thompson, my name is Stephanie and I also live in College Township.

And my question isn't, it's not political, it's not partisan, it's really a question of honesty and decency. Representative Thompson, I want to know why you keep referring to us as the opposition. In this incredibly partisan, divisive environment, how do you think antagonizing your constituents will bring us together and unite divided communities?

We are your voters, we are the families and communities in your district, and we want to be fairly represented by you first, before you represent your party. We don't care if it is a D or R after your name, we just want you to listen to us and please stop making things up about us.

45:23 Hello my name is Julie, I am a constituent, not a paid protester, living in State College Borough.

I wanted to ask a question about ethics. There has been a systematic disintegration of ethics in our government. Not only in our President's Twitter feed, but also in the resolutions that you voted for, and I figured I would list some.

  • Resolution 41, which repeals a rule requiring energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.
  • Resolution 38, repealing a stream protection rule, which protected water during surface mining operations.
  • Resolution 37, repealing a rule requiring some federal contractors to report labor violations.
  • Resolution 36, repealing a rule regulating waste generation during oil and gas production, very important in this state.
  • Resolution 57, repeals a rule relating to school accountability and state plans.

How can we, the people, trust a Congress that erodes oversights that protect us? Can you pledge right now - unfortunately you're not here, but immediately - to oppose legislation even when supported by Trump (which our Congressman here is 100% in support of everything that Trump has said thus far by his voting, what he's voted on) that erodes previously established ethics rules, especially those that have revealed massive conspiracies post 2007 economic collapse?

47:23 Hello Representative Thompson, I'm Joann, you met me in 2008 when we were both running for office, you for federal office and me for state office.

I subsequently became a member of Bellefont Borough Council, and when I ran two years ago I ran on the message that we need representatives who listen, and are open, and have transparent government. I haven't seen that... (applause). I'm very disappointed. We had a good conversation that day we met and talked, at the debate that you and I were both at.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen you do that kind of work for our constituents. I too was at the rally, the better part of two days ago. I held a sign that said "To Representative Thompson From Your Constituents." We are your constituents and we want to be heard. We can't often wait 6 months, 8 months to have an appointment to come in. I understand you're overwhelmed, so I think we all should take up the young woman's offer from a few minutes ago.

Secondly, I serve as the chair of the Senate County Advisory Council to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, which is the state organization that looks at all forms of discrimination, hate crimes and acts of tension. As a part of that, I answer the hotline calls for the State here at Centre county. Three days ago I got a call and an e-mail from a gentleman who had a sign in his car that said "I support immigrants." Someone came up, here in State College, and slashed his tires. That is wrong. We need to have you, as our Federal Representative, when things like this happen, speak out and say no.

I reported this incident as well as several others that have occurred over the last several months to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Attorney General's office, and the state police who have charged the Tension Task Force. They are receiving higher and higher numbers of hate crimes, acts of tension. Some of them are free speech issues where people are being just really nasty and calling people nasty names. Others are crimes. You, as our Representative, I hope will speak out against all of these, and do what you can do at the Federal level to make this stop. Thank you.

50:46 I'm Bob of Boalsburg, I'd like to thank the organizers of this and ask where do we line up to get our checks? And I'd also want to thank Glenn Thompson for bringing us all together.

To me this is more than the arrogance of one congressman, this is what's happening to many elected officials at state and national levels. I'd like to expand on what Dave Warner said, and I think it should be a job requirement for anyone who want to represent us at the state or national level to have an open town hall meeting, to have many open town hall meetings.

And this goes indeed for Republicans and Democrats alike. I would issue the call to all of us to keep the pressure on and to make it known it's a job requirement for anyone who wants to represent us, in Harrisburg or DC, to have open town hall meetings as often as possible throughout the district. In fact, I believe our next speaker actually called for open town hall meetings.

So, when we leave here let's keep the pressure on, not only Glenn Thompson, Jake Corman, Kerry Benninghoff, and also Scott Conklin. And I think we can continue this call, and let's start here, hopefully across the state and across the nation. Everyone, consider this a job requirement of open town hall meetings for their elected representatives. Thank you.

53:16 Kerith Strano Taylor: (Applause) ...we've met.

I have two points. Firstly, if you are so overwhelmed by the response from your constituency asking for meetings, I would think that this is a pretty efficient way to hear from more people who live in your district. I traveled from Jefferson County, with my kids. I am also a constituent who lives in this sprawling congressional district. And there are people from Erie to Huntington that care about their politics, and they deserve to be heard.

If I understand the job description of a Representative in Congress it's that you represent all of your constituents. Not just the ones with which you agree. Which unfortunate for me, he doesn't come here, because he doesn't agree with many of you. Fair?

I want to leave with this one note. At a debate, Congressman Thompson was asked what he thought of Trump. I don't know if you recall the answer but it's been sitting in the back of my brain for a really long time, and his statement was that he believes that God takes the imperfect and makes them perfect for His Purpose. For how long that we've had President Trump, can anybody identify a single thing that God would approve of . Thank you all for coming, thank you to the organizers.

55:17 Representative Thompson my name is Randy. I am a constituent in the 5th District, and I'm going to go easy on you because I don't have any of the hard questions, you've heard enough of those.

What I'm going to tell you is that earlier this week I was at another meeting that was just as energized as this one. Two hundred people on an evening came together for an organization called Fair Districts Pennsylvania. Fair Districts Pennsylvania is working for a state constitutional amendment to make sure that we have congressional districts, local legislative districts, that represent the people and are not gerrymandered.

So my advice to you is that I believe that everyone in this room is willing to work for those kinds of fair districts. Look out and see the green signs and you'll know that you need to be paying attention to your constituents. It's just not always going to be as easy to be this unaccountable.

56:34 Good afternoon Representative Thompson, I'm Mark, I'm a resident of Patton Township.

And I have a simple question for you. I was raised in a gun owning family. My father taught me how to handle rifles and handguns. I hold trophies, marksmanship trophies, in handguns. And so I have an appreciation of what is required to handle and own firearms responsibly.

So I simply want to ask why you supported the removal of restrictions of owning handguns to the mentally incompetent? Gun ownership should be a matter of concern and regulation, at least at the level that operating a motor vehicle is. But allowing them into the hands of those who are deemed to be mentally incompetent is incomprehensible, how do you defend that?

57:51 Representative Thompson my name is Liz, I am the Democratic Committee person for, one of the Democratic Committee persons for West Harris Township so I am definitely one of your constituents.

My question is this: I am one of the Americans that has had a fleeting relationship with healthcare coverage. I've been blessed in the past to have had professional jobs that provided me with excellent healthcare coverage, but I've also, and this is previously, been a waitress working for minimum wage.

Before the A.C.A., there was just no chance of having healthcare coverage. Going out for something like a job, in the back of your mind there was always the thought if I fell down and break my ankle, you know, break my leg, I'm done. I'll going to be in debt forever.

So when Vox.com yesterday put out an article that analyzed Paul Ryan's healthcare report, it estimated that for the average American healthcare costs would go up by a thousand dollars, and for those who are 55-64 it could go up possibly by six thousand.

I'd like to know if you are going to vote for this plan under Paul Ryan, and if so how are you going to come back here to your district and look working families in the face and say that you care about the economic future?

59:31 My name is Gab, I am not being paid, I wish I was.

G.T. called me last Friday I bugged him so much. And as I called him Representative Thompson, he said "call me G.T." So G.T., you know my stance, we've talked many times.

When President Trump was elected I was so upset that I said I have to do something. So I personally vowed to give to our country one hour a week of my time. I bring you, I bring letters to the editor, I contacted the Clearville paper because remember they're in your district. And I'm asking every one of my friends, and I have 300 of them here, we are no longer going to stand by and complain. I listen to the radio shows, even the liberal shows, and there is a lot of complaining.

But I am going to charge my friends to do something. Give an hour a week to the cause. If you can't give an hour a week, if they can't give an hour a week, I'm going to ask them to donate money to the Democratic party.

I have seven rules that I try to live by. One of them is, if nothing changes, nothing changes. And another is, when in doubt, do something.

1:01:32 Hi, my name is Kathy and I am a constituent of yours from Ferguson Township.

My statement is: the fifth district is not a rich district. Why did you, Mr. Thompson, want to get rid of the income-related Medicaid expansion, income-related cost sharing subsidies, and income-related premium credits, and replace them with limited subsidies for everyone without regard to income? How will your constituents, who are living on modest incomes, ever be able to afford insurance?

Mr. Thompson, my son is now on Medicaid healthcare. He does not make enough money, and will not be able to afford any healthcare if you get rid of the Medicaid.

I have one other issue. I think that you should be very disturbed by the gestures that Trump made imitating an autistic person. My nephew is severely autistic and those are some of his gestures. And now that Trump is president, it's deplorable that he did that. Thank you.

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1:03:25 Good afternoon, Representative Thompson. My name is Elaine, I live in the area code of 16803. I am not paid to be here but I think that we could all agree that you are.

You know, I am very frightened to be with a lot of people. I mean, I look out here at, these people are terrifying. Do you know why? Because you and the administration that we are living under right now, you have fired us up. Those of us who 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago could not discuss politics at the dinner table, well now we can. Because you have united us.

I have an invitation for you. Myself and a bunch of other locals have gotten together and we're throwing a concert in downtown State College, submitting the paperwork and the insurance forms and everything as we speak. It's going to be on Saturday, April 29th. It's going to be a sister event to the Peoples Climate Movement because, Representative Thompson, climate justice is social justice. I'm going to send you an invitation by mail, I'll fax it, I'll e-mail it, I'll call you. You don't have to send me those, I know them all.

Because we'd like you to be there and see that people like this can help you in making wise, fair decisions for your actual constituents. We'll stand up, the angry ones that no, if you decide to protect the climate, we'll stand up for you, won't we? You've been just listening this whole time, that's very lovely of you. (laughter) ...cause ready to hear or not, we will not be silenced.

1:05:46 My name is Joan, I am a concerned voting citizen not a paid protester.

Glenn Thompson, I'm very concerned about mass shootings that have not been mentioned here today. In the past, you have blamed mass shootings on mental health issues rather than on the availability of guns. So then why did you vote to nullify a commonsense rule that prevented the mentally ill from acquiring guns?

And while we're on the subject of guns, we also need to have very strong required background checks on all purchases on guns, even on the internet and even at gun shows.

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1:06:54 Hi friends and neighbors, my name is Caitlin. Hello there, Representative Thompson. And I am a grad student, an employee, and resident of State College.

I work as a counselor at Penn State and as an advocate here for students who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. I am beyond disappointed and horrified by Betsy DeVos' unwillingness to continue supporting Title IX, as well as the progress we have made to protect students, ensure their equal access to education, and guarantee that they can receive an education in a hostile-free environment. I'm asking you now to commit to telling Betsy and the administration as a whole that we must do better, and that all students deserve fair access in their education, and a faith in the system that truly represents them. Thank you.

1:08:00 Hi, I'm Pat, I'm new to the area and living in Ferguson Township.

Representative Thompson I just have to say I really am against the wall. I think there are so many more important issues that we don't need to put money into the wall.

1:08:32 Hello Mr. Thompson, my name is Bob, I'm a resident of the big city of Boalsburg, local graduate of Penn State.

Mr. Thompson I have sent you a number of e-mails, not just recently but over the years to express my concern with some of the many votes that he has taken. And Mr. Thompson, hopefully what you see today from these fine folks is, for more than an hour, all of the various subjects that concern us. It's a microcosm of America.

And we have so many issues in this country, and yet, forget just the past couple of months, for now years, eight years, we've watched, I've watched as a fellow Republican, very distressed, you are a party of "No." Where were the ideas? Instead of voting scores of times to repeal Obamacare, where were the fixes? Where were the things to make it better? And yet here we are and you want to take it away.

And you go through every one of these issues, you've had the opportunity, you've had the majority to do something. This room is filled with Republicans, Democrats, Independents, but we're all Americans. And we can make... (applause) ...a better country. Thank you.

1:10:30 Mr. Thompson and everyone assembled here, I apologize. I was late because I was actually doing something that I learned from many people. But there's an expression that goes with what I've been doing, and many of you know it. "When they go low, we go high." I also learned another expression that starts out when they go low, and it is "when they go low, we go local."

I'm here to announce, not through the CDT or StateCollege.com which I probably should do, that I who have been leading many of you, encouraging many of you to run locally, for school board, for supervisor, for council, that I am actually taking the step in my township, Patton Township, to run for supervisor.

It's not about me, it's about all of you. And actually what I'd love to do is anybody here, in the audience, who is running, either for school board, council, supervisor, and or has ever run for that, would you please stand? Please stand if you have ever run for local office.

Joann says I didn't let you know, I'm Betsy. And Mr. Thompson I want to just put you on notice that there are going to be many more people standing up in an audience the next time we have a town hall meeting like this, running for local office. The Centre County Democrats, with the help of Katie Bloom, we have trained over 76 people in Centre County to run for local office. Not all of them are running this time, but it is all about having a two year, four year, six year, eight year plan. It's not too early now to start thinking about running in 2020, it's not too early.

So we've trained 76 people here, we've also trained people in Medlin County, in Huntington County, and in Clearview County. And of course Blair, that was a big one. So I invite any of you, I am a resource if anybody wants to run and if you're on the fence I'll twist your arm and help you get off the fence. Thank you.

1:13:40 Hi G.T., so my name is Dawn, I was born in Tyrone Pennsylvania, my third grade teacher and high school teacher can confirm that I am in fact a townie. I've been here, like, all my life.

I have a confession, I never really got involved politically before. Once Obama was president I kind of stopped reading the news, I was like "he's got this, we're cool." I really didn't get involved locally, didn't vote in primaries. I know this is really hard to stand up in front of you all and say this, but I actually want to thank you. Because without, I don't know, I would say about a month ago, I started to get more involved. My local post office is appreciating how many stamps I buy now.

And I made a lot of new friends organizing a lot of new campaigns and just being more active in my community. I now know a lot more about legislative processes and I'm helping a lot of other people to do that too. Without you and a certain president this probably wouldn't have ever happened. So I know it's kind of an unpopular thing to say right now but thanks because I wouldn't be doing this.

1:15:05 I have to tell you to get up and talk 'cause I'm an old man and I'm going to have to visit the restroom soon. There's no use talking to Glenn, I know that. I could donate my hearings aids to him and he still wouldn't hear me.

I am afraid though of something, and this happened recently and I want you to give me a show of hands if you know about this. Because it came, it was released on a day when there was some obscenity coming out of the White House. How many of you know now that our gun manufacturers can ship to you a gun, as you are able to pay for, all the different iterations, configurations, monster weapons. They can ship it to you in a box, as long as it is disassembled it does not have any serial numbers on it and it can not be traced. How many people really know that. That's maybe 3% of this crowd.

I would like him to sponsor a bill that will say that no gun manufacturer within this country or outside of our borders, can ship to our citizens a gun that can not be traced simply because they found a loophole through the N.R.A. That scares the hell out of me.

I would like him to sponsor a bill that says that no manufacturer can ship a gun with no part in that assembly that has a trademark, a serial number on it, it can not be traced by the A.T.L. This should not happen, I don't care if it is shipped in one box, or twenty different boxes to get over another law that would be passed. Because that's what they'll try to do. They'll say, alright, we won't ship it in one box, we'll ship it in 12 boxes, and it still will not be able to be traced.

One of the most shameful things I've ever seen from this person here, one day in the CVT, I saw him standing in front of a gun shop in Clearfield, I believe, with his chest puffed out, with a red shirt on with some obscene N.R.A. slogan on it, with a gun strapped to his hip. And that was very close to Sandy Hook. I'll never forget that photo that you were so proud of. I could not let my beautiful grandchildren slaughtered by a gun, from some nutcase who got one of those new assembly type of guns with not being able to be traced. We know it's going to be used in some obscenity, against somewhere in this community, somebody you know, somewhere in this country. And I would like him not to co-sponsor, to sponsor it completely.

1:19:13 Hello Mr. Thompson, my name is Andrew, I am a resident of the Port Matilda Borough in your congressional district, and I am 17 years old.

I will be allowed to vote in the next congressional election. And I have difficulty believing that you will represent me or a large percentage of people in my community. Even beyond your support of Donald Trump's harmful and divisive policies, you have failed to come meet the very people you claim to represent to have an open conversation about our questions and concerns. As a rising voter this does not give me any faith in your commitment to be a responsible leader.

My question is this: even if I did share your political views, or even if I do find you the preferable candidate in a future election, why would I put in the effort to go out and vote for you when you will not put in the effort to come and care about us, and what our interests are, for the future of our district and our world?

You are among the relatively few people who can actually directly influence the policy of this country. Please show us that you care about us, the people you represent, as much as you care about your election campaigns. Thank you.

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This from a transcription of the 2/25/2017 State College town hall held by Congressman Glenn Thompson's constituents. The Representative was invited but did not atend. Links to the video are available here. The text has been lightly edited for clarity. Please e-mail pa.votervoices@gmail.com with any corrections.

Topic Search Words: AskedThompson, 2017, ConstituentTownHall, FullTranscript
District Keywords: CD05, Pennsylvania Congressional District 5, GlennThompson

To Contact Congressman Glenn Thompson:
Office website: http://thompson.house.gov
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CongressmanGT
Twitter: @CongressmanGT

Corrections: 2017-03-17, added identity of speaker at 56:13.