By Meg Olson
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene highlighted bipartisan wrangling, trade wars and challenges to our natural resources during the Point Roberts town forum sponsored by the local taxpayers’ association, but she was most interested in hearing from the community.
“I want this to be a dialogue,” DelBene said at the August 9 event at the Gulf Road community center which was attended by over 40 people. “There are really unique issues in Point Roberts. One of the reasons I go to these events is I want to make sure I hear from everyone.”
Audience members expressed concern about eroding social assistance, such as with Medicare and food stamps. “These are benefits people paid into and we need to protect them,” DelBene said.
Food bank director Henry Rosenthal said getting food to local families in need was complicated by the state administration of federal food assistance that ended up with the food bank having to pay $2,500 per year for liability insurance.
“What we need is a dialogue between the state and the federal government,” he said. DelBene said that dialogue is where her office can help, asking Rosenthal to get in touch with her local staffers.
Another example where state and federal dialogue was needed was with cannabis, an audience member said. “I’ve introduced legislation that allows there to be waivers for states that have legalized marijuana,” DelBene said, which would establish “the things you need to do to properly regulate marijuana” at the state level to remove the threat of federal reprisals to businesses and banks.
In her closing remarks DelBene encouraged community members to contact her office if they have concerns.
“If you are ever having problems with federal agencies whether it be immigration, social security, Medicare or something else, contact our office and we can try to help,” she said. “We do a lot of casework.”
DelBene has district offices in Bothell (425/485-0085) and Mount Vernon (360/416-7879). District director Molly Keenan from the Bothell office and community liaison Kaylee Galloway from the Mount Vernon office also attended the August 9 meeting.