U.S Reps. Underwood, Casten talk climate change, health care at Crystal Lake forum

Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten talk climate change, bills in works

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood answers a question as U.S. Rep. Sean Casten listens to her answer Feb. 18 during a town hall meeting at McHenry County College’s Luecht Conference Center.
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood answers a question as U.S. Rep. Sean Casten listens to her answer Feb. 18 during a town hall meeting at McHenry County College’s Luecht Conference Center.

U.S. Reps. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, and Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, met with residents at a town hall event Sunday.

Indivisible NW IL hosted the meeting at the Crystal Lake Public Library. Underwood, who represents District 14, held her session first, followed by District 6 representative Casten. Talking points included election and climate change legislature, and the partisan divide.

Underwood is on three House committees, which include the committee on Education and Labor, the committee on Homeland Security and the committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.7 trillion budget request calls for cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, immigration and health and human services programs, among others.

Underwood called the budget plan “problematic.”

“The American people have clearly spoken and want these critical programs to be fully funded,” she said. “We are going to be continuing to work against that.”

Underwood said important measures in the works included the Equality Act, which prevents discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and H.R 1 – “For the People Act of 2019” which addresses election integrity, political spending and voter access.

The bill also would require the president and vice-president to submit 10 years of tax returns and establishes an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.

H.R 1 has 236 co-sponsors including Underwood and Casten. Casten praised the bill.

“I think this is one of the most important things being done in politics in a long time,” he said. “Basically the whole idea is to do this whole package of good government reforms that will restore faith in the institution.”

Casten is on the Science, Space and Technology and Financial Services committees. He said addressing climate change remains his priority.

“People are taking it seriously now, and that has been pretty bipartisan,” he said. “Nobody here is debating thermodynamics. There are some laws that we can talk about, but those are pretty fixed.”

Crystal Lake resident Kathy Freund said she supported both representatives and appreciates the chance for a dialogue.

“I thought they were very helpful in explaining the focus of what each of them are doing,” Freund said. Freund said addressing climate change and health care were her two big concerns.

Jan Soderberg, also of Crystal Lake, said she agreed and appreciated the time from the representatives.

“Both of them were well spoken and easy to understand,” she said.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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