Story and photo by Melissa Ibarra/Viking/Staff/@ibarra_mm
Alan Lowenthal, California’s 47th district Congressman, discussed healthcare, immigration and other topics along with three panelists and a full LAC Auditorium at a town hall meeting Monday, March 13.
Erick Mazariegos, Associated Student Body president, introduced Lowenthal and listed his history as a politician and an educator said, “We are most proud of his leadership in education.”
Lowenthal came out to applause and some jeering. He thanked everyone for coming out to take part in the democratic process.
“Now is the time to come together,” Lowenthal said, “I really hope we listen to each other.”
Regarding the Affordable Care Act, Lowenthal said a small percentage of people remained currently uninsured, but instead of trying to help a small percentage, the whole program may be eliminated and it will leave 25 million people without health-care coverage.
Angela Madsen, a veteran, said the conversation between Republicans and Democrats about affordable health care overlooks veterans. She said she wishes both parties would stop obstructing the attempts to fix the problem.
Elisa Nicholas, the executive director of the Child’s Health Care Clinic and panelist, said when it comes to the cost of medication, “We have to challenge the pharmacy companies.”
She explained how children lose insurance and senior citizens have higher payments to keep their insurance. “We have a very complex system and it’s going to take a long time to convince people it can work.”
Madsen also brought up the deportation of Veterans. She said undocumented veterans took the same oaths as the veterans who are citizens and while undocumented veterans are away, their families are being deported and broken up.
Lowenthal talked about the vet’s father, Jose Alvarez, who was deported, and said, “No one should have to worry about having their families separated and especially veterans.”
“We are an inclusionary city and we will stand behind it,” Lowenthal said.
In regards to families and deportations, Nicholas said when children do not feel safe at school or home, it has lifelong health effects.
Jonathan Solorzano, who works with immigration coalitions, wanted to know what the Congressman is doing and what we can do to support Dreamer students.
Lowenthal said he has a personal view about the DACA and Dreamers and said, “I will fight for this on the floor,” but that he is out-numbered but 2018 Congressional elections are where the audience can make a big impact.
Director of the LBCC President’s Office, Miles Nevin, said LBCC and Lowenthal have been working together for some time to arrange the town hall meeting. Nevin said he believes the town hall was intended to allow conversation with the community about current issues. It was a success for Lowenthal and LBCC.
One comment made by an audience member was in regards to reports of Lowenthal not running for another term and Lowenthal responded with, “We are all in this together. I am not walking away.”