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Representative James Langevin takes questions in Westerly



Langevin answered questions in a freewheeling format that generated some interesting questions.

United States Representative James Langevin (Democrat, Rhode Island) was at the beautiful Westerly Library Thursday evening to meet with constituents and answer their questions about a variety of issues. It was a pretty freewheeling discussion, with some frankly surprising questions.

James Langevin

During his opening comments Langevin earned applause for his support of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and for his support for some sot of Medicare for All program.

Langevin ended his comments by highlighting the importance of his work in “providing for our common defense” which entails supporting our veterans, but also “supporting our robust defense sector in Rhode Island and the many jobs that are housed just down the road in Quonset Point.” Langevin said that he “believes these jobs are an important part of our economy and important for our national security as well.”

The next batch of videos are from the question and answer protion of the program. As much as possible I will try to characterize the questions and statements made by members of the public.

The first question is about impeachment proceedings, and the inaction of House Democrats to really challenge President Trump.

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Alex Duryea, a student at the university of Rhode Island and a member of Sunrise, asked Langevin if he would support the Green New Deal and sign onto the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, a promise not to take money from fossil fuel executives and companies.

Langevin declined, saying he does not sign pledges or support resolutions. He added that his environmental record speaks for itself.

While Duryea and Langevin conversed, Other members and allies of Sunrise held up signs.

A question about the Wyatt Detention Facility, and the incident whee a Wyatt Correctional Officer drove his pickup truck into a group of peaceful protesters, followed by other correctional officers indiscriminately using pepper spray on the crowd.

Langevin did not seem well informed on the issue.

Jonathan Daly-LaBelle took Langevin and other Democrats to task for being late to embrace progressive idea, pointing out that Langevin only supported the impeachment inquiry and Medicare for All after enormous public pressure. He pointed out that Langevin’s refusal to support the Green New Deal is following a similar pattern.

Lnngevin had talked about $300K in federal funds he had secured for the State’s 911 system. A woman asked if there was any way he could stop state officials from scooping that money and using it in for other priorities, a common practice of the Rhode Island General Assembly.

14-year old Evan repeated the request from Sunrise for Langevin to sign onto the Green New Deal and sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. Langevin once more refused to sign.

A question from the audience that doubted the wisdom of supporting an impeachment inquiry. The man maintained that investigations had exonerated the president, and therefore there was no basis for impeachment.

A question about ensuring the integrity of our 2020 elections.

A question about our immigration system, and what can be done to prevent the terrible atrocities being perpetrated under Trump.

A question about the fires burning the Amazon rain forest.

A question about gun reform.

A question about Brexit!

Trump’s eagerness to negotiate a trade deal with Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes the possibility of a no-deal Brexit more likely, said the speaker. A no-deal Brexit has the potential to close the borders in Ireland, leading to a renewal of sectarian violence there.

The speaker would like to see Congress reject any trade deals with Boris Johnson that include a hard border in Ireland.

The speaker points out that the work being done in the House, passing these bills, is valueless if the Senate doesn’t take them up. She wanted to know what could be done to push the Senate into taking up these bills.

Laura Landen asked Langevin to retain the Khanna-Gaetz amendment in the final version of the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This would prevent the NDAA being used to extend military action to Iran.

A wind power denialist:

A question about the trade war with China, and the President’s over reliance on tariffs.

About the importance of reaching across the isle to get legislation passed.

A question about plastics and what can be done about them. They are literally choking our world right now.

A follow up question about Brexit.

Another question about the Wyatt Detention Center, and who has jurisdiction over the prison.

A question about a Trump policy to exclude the children of overseas military from becoming citizens automatically.

And finally, if the Democrats take the Senate and the Presidency in 2020, are they ready to start reversing Trump’s policies, starting on day one?

A question about getting money out of politics.

An older man questioned Langevin’s treatment of Sunrise’s requests. He didn’t think Langevin communicated that he truly understood the future threatening aspect of climate change that most young people grapple with.

What is being done to prevent future Federal Government shutdowns?

A question about how disability access is coming along in Rhode Island.

A question about the United States Supreme Court. Will Democrats do to the Republicans in 2020 what the Republicans did to Democrats when they blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland?

What will Democrats do if President Trump decides to stage some sort of coup in the event he loses the 2020 election?

A question about the passion of our state delegation. Why aren’t they more angry, more emotional, about the terrible things happening to our country?

Final words from Langevin:

Final words from Westerly School Committee Chair Diane Chiaradio Bowdy about teacher pension systems.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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