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Senator Merkley holds town hall at COCC to engage with the community on important topics

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --  Senator Jeff Merkley held two town halls, in Bend and Madras Sunday to hear from the communities on a variety of issues.

The Bend town hall was held at Central Oregon Community College. People asked the senator questions when their ticket number was called. 

 The public engaged in conversation with the senator on topics such as housing, health care, the recent foreign aid bill, and transgender children. 

Recently, Congress passed and President Biden signed a $95 billion package to provide aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan to support their national defense.

Merkley said he voted against the bill because it provided funding for Israel's military actions. 

"This bill had many things in it that I supported," he said. "It provides funds, for example, to Ukraine, which I strongly support, as it tries to defend itself against really as a democratic republic, against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's tyranny. But, I felt it was important to say that it's not okay for U.S. weapons to be provided and used in an indiscriminate fashion."

Another hot-button issue touched on was concerns about transgender kids competing in sports. 

Senator Merkley said, "My daughter played sports, and I think if someone can find meaning and connection, friendships, teamwork, by being involved in a sport, if it's a girl or transgender girl, let them play."

After the town hall, I asked a Bend resident, Terry Reynolds, what she thought of the session. She said the town halls are valuable for the public. 

"I like how he looks at issues from many sides, and that he can work across party lines. And I appreciate that," she said,

Senator Merkley has held a total of 16 town halls this year, with a complete total of 556 town halls.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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