Virginia’s 5th and 6th Congressional Districts cover a massive portion of the state – stretching from northern Virginia all the way to the North Carolina line. They also each include a segment of Bedford County, where the two Republicans who hold those seats conducted a joint town hall meeting Wednesday night.
People and policy over politics. That was the overarching message from Denver Riggleman and Ben Cline – both freshmen, Republican members of Congress.
Both indicated that despite current headlines dealing with the House’s impeachment inquiry, their constituents have other pressing concerns.
Riggleman says one issue stands above the rest for his district, which is 65 – percent rural. He says there is great need for the passage of President Donald Trump’s NAFTA replacement, the US – Mexico – Canada Agreement.
“The second issue would be rural broadband, the third issue is high intensity drug trafficking areas, the opioid and addiction crisis," he explains. "That’s what you hear, right? I never; like today I was at Head Start, you never go in there at Head Start and I’m reading a book to the kids and one of the teachers says, ‘Hey, what about impeachment?’ That never happens.”
The Congressmen fielded less than 10 questions during the nearly two hour town hall. Cline drew the most flak from members in the crowd when he shared his stance on climate change.
“I think the science is still undetermined as to how much of an impact humans have on the environment. So, the climate is changing, humans do have an impact; it’s just the size of that impact,” Cline explained after the meeting.
Cline went on to say that he does encourage use of renewable energy to rely less on fossil fuels.
Other topics discussed include the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, immigration and infrastructure.