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Congressional utility

Representative Suzanne Bonamici (center) at the McMinnville town hall. (photo/Randy Stapilus)

The 50 or so people who turned out at the McMinnville town hall of Representative Suzanne Bonamici mostly probably already were aware that getting much done in Congress is, at best, a problematic idea. Bonamici pretty much confirmed that.

Asked at one point what she would do about immigration if she had her druthers – if working with Republicans and the various interests involves weren’t a factor in the equation – she got around to answering the point, but made a strong point first of emphasizing just how hypothetical that was.

There are efforts, though, and part of what came clear in the talk was which areas shee was most interested in, and working on – not all of them equally. Education – early childhood and schools – clearly continue to be a focus for her. One of the points she came back to, repeatedly, was the effort to amend the math/tech STEM emphasis in many schools to add an art and design components (‘STEAM’).

In some other areas, she spoke more generally, and she may be developing background in some others (banking, forests and some others).

But this fit in to some extent with the interests of the audience, which were more local than in many recent town halls (including those of the U.S. senators). A large and controversial local garbage depository near McMinnville came in for repeated discussion, as well as the Highway 99 bypass around Dundee and a large economic dvelopment projects. What was being sought in these cases wasn’t legislation, but rather working with federal and other agencies.

That may be the more useful part of a member of Congress’ job at this point.

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