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Rep. Lauren Underwood talks first 100 days at town hall event

YORKVILLE – Norma Garza of Yorkville has been following the actions of U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, for a while now. She said she hoped Underwood would address a large array of topics at a town hall event April 13 at Yorkville Middle School.

Garza, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan, said she ultimately wanted Underwood to know that she supports her and respects what she has been doing in representing the 14th Congressional District.

“I’m so glad she’s where she’s at,” Garza said.

Garza was one of about 75 people who attended the town hall event.

Elected to Congress in November, Underwood represents the 14th District, which includes most of Kendall and McHenry counties, the eastern part of DeKalb County including Sycamore, the western part of Kane County including Elburn, and parts of DuPage, Will and Lake counties.

Underwood said her goal is to hold town hall meetings in all seven counties within the district. To date, she has hosted town halls in McHenry, DeKalb, Kendall and Kane counties.

Underwood opened the Yorkville event by talking about what has been accomplished in her first 100 days in Congress, including the House of Representatives passing House Resolution 8, which calls for universal background checks for firearms possession; HR 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; and HR 1644, the Save the Internet Act in favor of net neutrality.

Underwood also described what she saw when she visited El Paso, Texas, near the nation’s southern border. She voiced concerns about people waiting in terrible conditions and noted she hasn’t seen additional immigration officers being hired with resources set aside by the House’s Homeland Security Committee, which Underwood sits on.

Robert Moerschbaecher, a Shorewood resident, interjected at various parts of the event, which included expressing disagreement with what Underwood was saying about the southern border crisis. Despite not being a fan of Underwood, he said, he also asked Underwood whether she supported U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, and whether Underwood wanted to take away everybody’s health care and replace it with socialized health care.

Underwood responded that she thinks some of Ocasio-Cortez’s ideas are interesting. She also noted there has been no legislation proposed for the Green New Deal.

“What I’m more interested in is seeing the actual legislation, which has not been written,” Underwood said.

Underwood, a registered nurse, also said she believes health care is a human right. She said she thinks there is an opportunity to lower premium and prescription drug prices, improve the quality of care people receive and expand coverage.

“In the United States, we should not have tens of millions of people that are without health care coverage,” Underwood said. “None of those things involve taking away health care coverage for people.”

Moerschbaecher said he believes Underwood is hiding a socialist agenda under nice platitudes, along with her fellow freshman Democratic congressional members. He said he believes health care is a necessity, but he disagrees with Underwood in that it is not a right.

He also said he thought Underwood dodged the question about replacing private health care with socialized care.

“She’s as bad as I thought she was,” Moerschbaecher said.

Nancy Judge of Yorkville said she thought Underwood addressed all of the issues she wanted to see touched on during the town hall event, including infrastructure and taxes.

She said she felt Underwood did so adequately.

Judge, who also is an Air Force veteran and Garza’s friend, said she also is glad Underwood addressed health care. Although she has decent health care as a veteran, Judge said, she has a vested interest in health care, especially with an elderly father who pays $1,000 a month for health care, and a brother who has cancer, who pays $2,800 a month for health care for a family of four.

“I watch my family go through pain so much a month for health care – it’s ridiculous,” Judge said.

Underwood’s next scheduled town hall meeting will be from 2 to 3 p.m. May 4 at River Trail School in Gurnee.

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