Residents speak up at Congressman Larsen’s community meeting

IMG_0124
Congressman Rick Larsen listens to a constituent during a community meeting Saturday at the Aloha Cafe in Lynnwood. (Photo by David Pan)

By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor

Health care reform and the Affordable Care Act were on the minds of many people at Second District Congressman Rick Larsen’s community meeting Saturday afternoon at the Aloha Café in Lynnwood.

Some spoke in favor of the new law, while others voiced their opposition. Larsen, however, emphasized that he was in favor of implementation of the law, though he was open to making adjustments along the way.

Before taking questions from those in attendance, Larsen touched on four topics, including the North Korean detainment of Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood. Bae has been held in North Korea for more than a year.

“We’re continuing to press North Korea to release him,” Larsen said. “He is ill.”

Bae is no longer working in the prison camp where he is being held, Larsen added.

Larsen noted that the Washington State Health Exchange website is working well. Through last week, more than 180,000 people have signed up through the website.

Sound Transit has settled on two potential options for the light rail route for the Lynnwood Link Extension. Larsen urged residents, if they had further concerns, to communicate with the Sound Transit Board and also with his office. Larson described the extension of light rail to Lynnwood as good news.

Finally, as far as Boeing and where the 777 is going to be built, Larsen said that Washington is still in a good position.

“We can make a very good case against the other states,” he said. “Washington State does stack up nicely.”

When asked about the recent Washington initiative that legalized marijuana, Larson firmly stated that he did not support the initiative but said that since it passed, “The law is the law in Washington State.”

Larsen said he did not agree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in which the court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions.

The issue of whether or not the federal government will face another financial crisis next month elicited a lengthy answer from Larsen in which he ultimately stated his belief that the odds for another government shutdown are low.

The previous shutdown resulted in no changes to the budget, Larsen said. “We wasted 16 days.”

The political fallout, especially on the Republican side, was so bad that Larsen doesn’t see any political advantage to another government shutdown.

“The political incentive not to shut down is high,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.