Community members attended town hall meetings hosted by Representative Greg Walden this week. The town hall meetings scheduled by Rep. Walden follow a wave of accountability actions from constituents, who are critical of the lack of open meetings with constituents by Rep. Walden. According to the Bend Bulletin, Rep. Walden has not held a town hall meeting in Bend since 2013.
Many of Rep. Walden’s constituents expressed frustration at his role in repealing the Affordable Care Act, including healthcare and homecare workers.
“We welcome the opportunity for Representative Walden to hear from us at the town halls today in Medford and Grants Pass because this is our chance to speak up about our communities’ needs, including vital services like healthcare which would be drastically cut under a repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” said Lauri Hoagland, a Nurse Practitioner at La Clinica in Medford. “We just want to be heard, because the direction Congress is going could have a serious impact on our communities within Southern Oregon.”
“I’m disappointed to see Congressman Walden support a tax cut for the rich that would kick so many of his constituents off healthcare,” said Heidi Turner, a homecare worker in Redmond. “I hope to see him held accountable in the next election.”
According to a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, an estimated64,300 people in Congressman Walden’s district would lose healthcare coverage under repeal of the Affordable Care Act and over 20,000 jobs created under the ACA could also be impacted across Oregon.
Tom Chamberlain, the President of the Oregon AFL-CIO which represents over 300,000 Oregonians, describes how efforts to hold Rep. Walden accountable go beyond healthcare. “We are concerned that a number of vital programs and services including healthcare could be slashed through the proposed Federal budget,” said Chamberlain. “Many of these cuts will take a toll on workers. We are looking at a 20.7% cut to the Department of Labor. That makes it harder for working people to get the training they need in order to advance in their industry and to compete globally. Couple those cuts with a 13.5% reduction in education spending, and we are putting the next generation of workers at a disadvantage before they even graduate. I’m interested to hear from Congressman Walden what he plans to do about that.”