From DACA to health care to North Korea, Jayapal talks issues at Edmonds event

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks to constituents at Edmonds’ Canarino Gelato Friday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-7th District) brought the latest in her series of “Java with Jayapal” meetings to Edmonds’ Canarino Gelato on Friday afternoon, where she spent an informal hour reporting to a group of mostly supportive constituents on a range of issues, and answering attendees’ questions.

“I’m so grateful to serve as your representative in Congress,” she began. “I know many of you are very concerned about the issues we face today, everything from global warming to health care to tax reform to fears of war with North Korea. And you’re not shy about letting me know! My office receives an average of 5000 letters from you each week, more than from any other U.S. Congressional District. You’re speaking up in greater numbers every day, and please, know that your voice matters.”

Jayapal, who was elected last November to represent the 7th Congressional District, which includes Edmonds, went on to address immigration issues, specifically the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA, which was instituted by President Barack Obama and rescinded by President Donald Trump, allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit.

About 70 people gathered to hear Jayapal speak.

“It was unconscionable and callous for our President to put an end to DACA,” she said. “To keep from leaving these 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ in limbo, I am working with my fellow members of Congress to pass the Dream Act that would provide a direct road to citizenship.”

On the subject of health care, Jayapal took a moment to celebrate.

Exclaiming “what a victory — one more time,” she lauded this week’s defeat of the Graham-Cassidy bill, and that the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. She added that Senators McCain, Murkowski and Collins should be “commended for bravery” in committing to vote against a bill that would threaten coverage for pre-existing conditions, and would even have defined “being a woman as a pre-existing condition.”

But she also issued a note of caution, reminding the audience that critical work still needs to be done on health care. One important piece is further extending Medicare to those who still don’t have it, she said.

“I’m a huge supporter of Medicare for all,” she said, eliciting a round of enthusiastic applause from the audience.

“And with (U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services) Tom Price’s resignation today, we took one more step toward accountability of government officials,” she said, to another round of applause. “Misuse of taxpayer’s money has to change; officials have to be accountable.”

(Price resigned following his controversial use of private charter aircraft for official trips. See the story from our online news partner The Seattle Times here.)

Jayapal speaks directly with constituents at the close of Friday’s session.

Moving on to the United States’ losing prestige on the world stage, Jayapal said that other world leaders are increasingly seeing the divisive stance of the White House as responsible for making the United States less able to provide the kind of world leadership that’s needed today.

She called the administration’s decision to take the U.S. out the Paris Climate Accords a prime contributor to this loss of prestige.

“Just looking at the recent spate of epic hurricanes and other extreme weather, it is simply irresponsible to doubt the fact of climate change,” she added. “I am proud to be one of four co-sponsors of what’s being called the 100 by 50 Act that calls for transitioning from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.”

During the question-and-answer session, Jayapal fielded several constituent inquires about why Republicans are so intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“The Republicans have long promised to do this, and many still feel they are responsible to carry through with this,” she responded. “But I see this resolve weakening, a prime example being recent votes by Senator McCain and other Republicans against repealing the ACA.”

Another constituent asked about North Korea, expressing fear that we are moving closer to war.

“Many people across America oppose the idea of war with North Korea,” she said, “and waging a war without popular support is difficult. I’m also heartened that the President has surrounded himself with a number of generals such as Gen. Mattis who know what war is like and would be a potent force to keep us from stumbling in that direction.”

Other questions concerned the influence of big money on our democratic political process, and prospects for a movement to impeach the President.

“We are at a moral crossroads today,” she said in closing. “But I remain optimistic. At a time when many of our values and institutions are under attack, I strongly believe it is the people speaking up that will preserve our democracy. We are in the right time and place.”

Learn more about Rep. Jayapal at her web page, where citizens can also provide input on the various issues facing Congress and the nation.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

24 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry, but I can’t get behind anything this woman does. I’m still wondering how she was elected into the office and being a socialist???? (Her claim not mine)

        • So do we all. Perhaps we should stop bandying the word “socialist” around and deal with specific issues and policies. The word simply clouds judgement and ignores all the socialistic things we already have and use on a daily basis: roads, the FDA, schools, ER’s, police, air traffic control… All fit the definition of “social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole” to one degree or another.

        • Nathan,
          -Roads are paid for via gas tax, which is effectively a toll (not socialist in how they are paid for). Besides, roads are the #1 cause of unnatural death. Compulsive road construction has created a huge dilemma in America where heavy rails are in ruin, 90,000 pound trucks and people share the same right of way, urban density is ruined because of sprawl and one of of every six dollars is squandered on transportation. Using roads to justify socialism is as regressive as taxing working class Americans to subsidized rich people’s Teslas.
          – The FDA? This state just nullified federal law to smoke weed (a recreational drug), but somehow an organization which has exacerbated the costs of medical drugs to the point big companies get rich off poor people waiting for drugs is reason for more of the same? Besides, the FDA is not socialist, they are a regulatory body. The FDA is the reason why drug certification costs billions, yet still dangerous drugs are still being certified and recalled. Dallas Buyers Club is a great movie.
          – Schools? Classic socialism. I’ll give you that. https://www.cato.org/blog/chart-day-federal-ed-spending Imagine the raise we could give our teachers if we didn’t send billions to the DOE.
          -Air Traffic Control? OMG. ATC is so incredibly antiquated. Its 60s tech. I own an aviation company and ATC is a huge problem, not one to laud. The Gulf of Mexico has no ATC. Petroleum companies invented and implemented their own adhoc system (ADS-B) using GPS and transponders that required no ATC at all. Decades later the FAA has fumbled to catch up. The FAA’s solution, ironically, is to privatize it and two bill are being passed to do so right now. But, yes, ATC is a great example of socialism.

        • Ron, she is registered with the Democratic party, I think you know that. Joy’s misinformation claiming that Ms. Jayapal has stated that she is a socialist (she has not) makes those of us that “lean further right” look foolish.

          Supporting some very left-leaning policies does not make her a socialist. If we continue to use “socialist” as a name-calling “bad word”, then our actual point is lost. Supporting that rhetoric makes it harder for the rest of us who are trying to have a real conversation.

          Personally, I’m tired of those on both sides who use lies, misinformation, and key-words to disparage their opponents. This is not politics, it’s just childish name-calling and it does not help. And I think that using these tactics is a large part of the reason that America is currently in the state of affairs that it is in.

          If we really want to get back to the “good old days”, then we need to act like we did. And that means mutual respect and real conversations and telling the truth. We need to act better than we are currently behaving.

          That is the reason behind my respond to Joy’s comment. I hope that you will follow my lead.

        • Larry, Ron is right. Bernie Sanders is a “democratic socialist”, but primary’d/caucused with Democrat Party. Jayapal is a renowned as a “Benri-Democrat” because she openly backed Berni and mirrored his socialist platform. If the hyphen is removed in democratic-socialist, they cant get public money for their campaign or they’d spend all their money on lawyers trying to get a fair shake as an explicit socialist party candidate. RIP Jill Stein. Socialists have to get into one of the two parties, just like Libertarians have to fit into the Republican Party to be viable. There’s not a more appropriate word for democrat-folks advocating socialism, but are unable to say they are socialist, than “socialist”. Socialist is not a pejorative like you suggest either, as they are proud of it (unless you’re a “national-socialist”, which is English for “nazi”). For example, Nathaniel is here to defend socialism.

        • “Definition of socialism

          1 :any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
          2 a :a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
          b :a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
          3 :a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done”
          Words still have meaning. According to Webster’ online, “socialist” doesn’t seem to have much to do with this discussion at all.

        • Mr. Talmadge, #MedicaidForAll fits precisely in that definition and that’s Jayapal’s platform. Self-identified socialists aren’t bashful and dont consider “socialism” a pejorative. Interview after interview that I’ve read, Rep Jayapal isnt afraid of being referred to as holding socialist platform and has even endorsed explicitly socialist candinates over democrat competitors. She’s a politician btw.

        • Matthew,

          You are right. I guess I got up on my “misinformation soapbox” and lost sight of the real conversation. Thanks for helping me down!

        • Larry, you’re making great points and not on any soapbox. As a libertarian I can relate to socialists in the Democratic Party. Even when I chaired the Republican Party in the 21st I felt like a gadfly trying to fit into one of the mainstream parties. Thanks for contributing.

        • Larry – Your two posts above are very well put and much to the point. We have fallen into a pattern in this country of the sort of “blanket name calling” or “one epithet covers all” that simply stifles discussion, and we have forgotten that calling someone names is usually a pretty bad way to start a useful discussion.

          “[M]utual respect and real conversations and telling the truth” are the only way forward. I sometimes wonder if the US is too big and too rich for us ever to get back to that. I’ve just been in the Faroes and Shetlands and seen nothing but mutually helpful, courteous people; perhaps living close enough to each other to have to behave well is part of it? Could Edmonds, at least, emphasize such behavior?

          At any rate – thanks for the great remarks!

        • Jayapal’s platform in summary is 1) America is racist, 2) America is Inequitable, 3) Impeach Donald Trump. Frankly, on her first two points I have no clue what she’s talking about. If you don’t watch cable news, then it’s apparent that America is an amazing country. There is no country more diverse, more equitable and no country where race relations are better. Name one that’s better. After the aforementioned discussion over the deplorable political and sociological conditions in India and the effects of socialism there, there’s a lot of irony in an Indian-American politician representing [possibly] the whitest city in America by focusing on perceived racism while advocating socialism. On the last point, and on the point of calling people names, Rep Jayapal says our President “traffics in white supremacy.” I am not a President Trump supporter, but I know that divisive name calling like that is also half-witted. Our district needs people to build bridges with power-brokers like the GOP side of the house and POTUS, not burn bridges down with incendiary statements. Jayapal is #NotMyRepresentative (I know she is, I’m just poking fun at the local #Resist-ers in the hopes they pump the brakes on being so divisive)

      • “There is no country more diverse, more equitable and no country where race relations are better.”

        ~ I respectfully disagree. However, if you are a person of color, I’d love to hear about your experiences that back up your statement.

        “Name one that’s better. ”
        ~Canada

        • I agree with Matthew’s comments. Alicia, I was born in Canada and travel there regularly; it’s a great country, but in my opinion still a notch below the U.S. – it’s become too socialistic. Regarding the remainder of the world, I have visited all developed countries several times as well as lesser developed ones – including India. None, in my opinion, can measure up to the U.S.

        • Alicia. I’m not a person of color. I grew up in rural Maine. I’m Irish, probably 200%. There was one black girl that went to my grade school for part of a year, and since she left I never spoke with another black person until I joined the service in 1997. My wife is black, and we got together in New Jersey in 2000. People of color were rare in Maine, but absolutely no one was racist towards our relationship. We’ve lived in 5 southern states, and all four corners of the US over the last 17 years together. In Georgia there were no issues, Arizona no issues, South Carolina no issues, and really we never gave being mixed a lot (if any) thought. My white trash family and my redneck friends we’ve collected through the years love me, my wife and my kids. In Seattle, however, there seems to be a pervasive effort to highlight race at every turn and people of color tend to wonder if you’re friends with them because you’re looking for a token person in their group as to be perceived as more progressive. Those who cant find people of color to be in their orbit, seem to think voting for one is the next best option. We’ve been in Seattle (again, possibly the whitest city in America) for 6 years and you people are weird, and generally clueless about race. People of color are leaving this area – it been coined “Seattle’s Black Exodus”. What I am most afraid of is that my kids are going to be broached about the subject in the schools. Right now they are happy and ignorant of race-myths, and my worst fear is that their race will be highlighted and that they’ll be told how their supposed to feel about it. After all, we’ve just elected a representative for our top-down government whose chief concern is racism that my family has never experienced. Beating the drum hard enough might actually create issues.

          Is Canada better in race relations than the US because it’s less racially diverse than Washington State (which is already notoriously white)? Nathaniel lauded Denmark earlier. Race relations are easy when you have a near total race homogeneity. Dave Chappelle points out how San Francisco solved their race issues by putting all the black people on the other side of the bridge in Oakland. How progressive. Aren’t Seattle’s school districts splitting up on racial lines? Progressive is the new Jim Crow.

        • Ron, While I love the US, we have much that we can learn from Canada and other countries (I have run a summer ranch in BC for 47 years… ) in healthcare and lack of violence. Leaving violence aside, we are 11th in health care performance behind UK, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Canada, and France (Newsweek). At the same time, we are highest in percentage of GDP and in Health care spending.

          Mathew – I am not here to defend socialism; but I do believe, having lived in the UK and worked in Sweden and Slovenia, that socialized health care is more generous and fair – as well as more efficient – than the vastly expensive, wasteful and inefficient “system” we have. If I must call myself a socialist, I think I’ll make that Christian Socialist. 🙂 What I loved about the Faroes and other smallish places is the belief that we’re all in this together.

        • I can’t defend our healthcare system either, it’s already 52% socialist (medicare) and 48% crony-corporatist. Ironically, I joined a healthsharing ministry (a socialism) which is Obamacare exempt and pay a fraction of WA bronze. Im not a communist, but nuns seemed to be fine living in communes. The solution is choice. No system that forces you to be a part of it is the right system. In a Free Market you can have single payer, or socialists, or al a carte.

          We are not the highest percent GDP of healthcare spending. That myth is based on Purchase Power Parity. Both Norway and Switzerland pay more than we do. No country with socialized medicine (which includes us) can control ballooning costs. If we were to mirror Norway’s example, we’d need to nationalize our oil too and “drill baby drill” to pay for it. Second, it’s weird when we look at how much is spent on healthcare as being a bad thing, but not when is comes to education. The US spends more per capita on K-12 education than any other nation, with no better results, but thats good and we should spend more? Zimbabwe spends almost nothing on either.

          As far as violence goes. We continue be be one of the safest countries in the world. Considering we are also incredibly diverse, unlike Scandinavia, and that is an unprecedented accomplishment. Other than having way too many ppl in prison (California prisons are the worst), no other country is a better melting pot of ppl who love each other and get along.

  2. Rep. Jayapal is a federal representative for the 7th District. She’s not the same person as Kshama Sawant who is on Seattle City Council as a Socialist.

  3. Most Indian politicians thus far have entered American politics extolling the virtues of Indian-socialism, which has brought India nothing other than corruption, poverty, violence, indentured servitude and a pervasive cast system. Her platform (https://jayapal.house.gov/about) doesn’t seem to be far off the mark of a socialist with nothing but contempt for American Tradition.

    Racism [we’re racist right?], equal pay [for unequal work], and immigration [the US doesn’t allow any immigrants, right?] are her primary concerns. Hopefully she proposes some bills that simply ban poverty so that it doesn’t happen any more. Hate would be a good thing to ban too. We could regulate both like drugs. If $16 minimum wage is good, then lets’ do $50/hour; just so long as we continue to ignore all the white-collar college students who actually take out loans to get intern jobs that compensate them with nothing other than experience.

    Don’t measure her platform by her good intentions; measure it by the results. In 6 years will Seattle be more equitable or less equitable? I don’t think her platform has worked in NYC, or Detroit, or Baltimore, or San Francisco (where the higher-cast are doing great), but lets give it a try here. Oh yeah, impeach Trump too- am I right?

    • Actually Medicare for all has nothing to do with the state controlling either means or the production. If you don’t like something fine. But socialism has a real meaning. Don’t like Medicare for all, fine. But using proper words matters. And I don’t have enough knowledge of “Indian” politicians extolling the virtues of Indian socialism to even comment, you apparently know more than I on the sociopolitical doings of India.

      • India was hurt tremendously by controls on means of production and distribution (socialism).
        http://reason.com/archives/2006/06/06/the-rise-and-fall-of-indian-so

        Most jobs in India are on their black market simply because their government hasn’t legalized them yet (which helps maintain the caste economy by keeping the poor and how thet survive illegitimate). The people of India are incredibly hard working and selfreliant. They recycle everything… amazing ppl. Some politicians, though, people from that caste, are generally regressive even though they platform progressive (Jayapal excluded obviously). Even the Indian ambassador brought slaves with her. http://nypost.com/2013/12/22/indian-diplomat-treated-housekeeper-like-a-slave/
        The caste system is normalized there. Our culture is better for us and we should be careful condemning one socialism (North Korea) by ignoring the same lessons of another (India).

  4. I am uplifted by a conversation which has not called anyone a name and seems to listen to what is being said. I taught in a multi racial school for almost 20 years and simply did not see hate between the children. They had the usual disagreements that kids have. The teachers were so very careful to be fair. Of course no place is perfect but over emphasis on one’s color does not seem to do anyone any good.

  5. I agree with you, Barbara. I also taught in a multi-racial school. The children got along fine. It was parents that appeared to create the problems. Small children are usually very accepting of each other–until they start getting older and are influenced by people who should be setting examples.

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