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Locals express political concerns and get answers at packed Town Hall Meeting

Town hall meeting in Capitola

CAPITOLA, Calif. - New Brighton Middle School in Capitola was full of people and emotions on Saturday.

"I'm always hopeful, but right now it's not going so well I don't think," said Russell McGuire of Boulder Creek.

"A combination of disappointment and optimism," said Capitola resident Elizabeth Sparks.

At the Town Hall Meeting questions posed to representatives Jimmy Panetta D (D-Calif. 20th District) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif. 18th District) were not screened. The audience could ask anything they wanted.

"How will you and congress protect all of our civil liberties?” asked one audience member.

People asked about climate change, funding for coastal programs, President Trump releasing his tax returns and immigration.

"Will you endorse and promote SB54 which would make California a sanctuary state?" asked an audience member.

“I would prefer that sanctuary come up from the ground, from the grassroots," replied Eshoo.

"We're going to send a letter to the White House explaining to President Trump how important immigrants are not just to our economy but to our community,” said Panetta.

The representatives were also questioned about military spending and the federal budget.

"The Department of Agriculture is going to be cut by 23 percent if his budget passes as it is," said Panetta.

Concern around the Affordable Care Act really hit home in the crowd. Representatives said because of the ACA, the uninsured rate on the Central Coast has dropped from 19 to 9 percent and 55,000 people now have health insurance.

"One of the options is having a universal healthcare," said Panetta.

"We want the republicans to join us in the effort to improve the Affordable Care Act because it’s not perfect, no legislation is,” said Eshoo. “Why? Because human beings have drawn it up."

Communities members said while a lot of work needs to be done, they feel hopeful.    

"Communities are being formed,” said Carson Kelly with Santa Cruz Indivisible. “Particularly across socio-economic, across age, across gender."


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