Reed talks trade, guns, Trump

Congressman holds town hall in Dayton

OBSERVER Photo by J.M. Lesinski 23rd Congressional District U.S Representative Tom Reed (R-Corning) listens at his town hall meeting in Dayton Tuesday as a passionate audience member tells him a story of how her biracial daughter was attacked by a group of neo-Nazis.

DAYTON — 23rd Congressional District U.S Representative Tom Reed held a town hall meeting in the Dayton Town Hall Monday, where he sat down one-on-one with the small 20-person room.

The meeting got off to a smoother start than Reed’s prior town hall in Stockton a few months ago, and discourse between the crowd and Reed remained civil and orderly.

Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

Reed began his talk with an update on the Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). “There’s been a lot of positive movement, in regards to getting Mexico-Canada reader for the floor for a vote,” Reed began. “Folks still have a little bit of concern on some issues dealing with things that are going to labor and environmental standards, and biologics.”

The final result of Mexico-Canada appears close, according to Reed, who went on to say, “I think we’re coming to the conclusion of giving it to the speaker of the House. It’s all in the speaker’s office right now…that’s coming to a conclusion one way or the other.”

Reed also noted a more concrete date when he expects to see more on the agreement. “I think October is kind of the time frame where question will be called, whether or not to have a vote on the floor,” he commented. “If the speaker chooses not to, there are mechanisms that are potentially out there, to just say ‘hey, we as members…we have a tool to say we need to be heard on this issue.'”

China quickly came into the picture, as its trade relations involving the U.S. have been an issue lately. “China on the trade agenda is kind of stalled because of where we stand on Mexico-Canada,” Reed said. “In order to get and keep China at the table, and negotiate tremendous unfair trade practices that they’ve engaged in, we have to get Mexico-Canada done in order to demonstrate to them that we are serious about these negotiations.”

Finishing up his notes on trade, Reed also brought to light how Mexico-Canada could impact the ongoing crisis at the border. “Trade goes a long way to help with issues on the immigration front,” Reed stated. “Mexico, per se, recognizes, I think, that there is a crisis at the border, and the economic relationship between Mexico and the U.S. is such that it could help pacify the crisis that’s occurring.”

Gun violence

Reed’s assistant then introduced a question on gun control. “We would agree with the public safety component, that’s a government role,” he stated. “The question is, where are the solutions to gun violence? You know my record, where I stand on the Second Amendment… attacking this issue of banning objects, I don’t agree with that approach. I believe in the Second Amendment.”

In response to a question from the audience asking, “Could we ban guns and still honor the Second Amendment?”

Reed replied, “I don’t know how you would do that.”

The same woman who asked the question then commented, “There are speed limits on how fast I can drive my car.”

Reed briefly replied, “I understand that,” but did not add anything else, before asking another audience member to elaborate on a separate question on the firearm industry.

On mass shooters, Reed prepared a separate commentary, noting, “The commonality I see of the who, is somebody who is exhibiting an undiagnosed, or an actual diagnosed psychopathic mental illness that is falling through the cracks of the system.”

The room seemed to split on the response, especially after Reed’s next comment. “We want to go after the psychopathic mentally ill and focus on ways to treat them,” Reed stated, adding. “Psychopathic, not mentally ill.”

An audience member then made the sarcastic comment, “Because healthcare is so affordable.” A pair of attendees whispering to each other could also be overheard saying, “He doesn’t agree with universal healthcare, who does he think has good enough insurance for that?”

Reed then closed out his comments on gun control with a summary of where he stands on the matter. “I think if those two areas: psychopathic and criminal activity, are focused on, maybe we can actually do something about this issue.”

Trump Impeachment

A question asking Reed if he agrees that President Trump should be impeached was quickly answered by Reed. “No,” he firmly stated. “I don’t see grounds for impeachment. I don’t see it in the Mueller report, nor in the actions that I’ve seen by the president. I’ve looked at the Mueller report thoroughly.”

With multiple questions about indictment after Trump’s term is over and comparisons to former president Bill Clinton, Reed brought the focus back to the main question and made the comment, “If we want to talk about removing the president, there’s an election coming up. We’re quickly moving into that cycle and that to me is the better way to deal with this issue.”

Climate Change

When asked if the earth’s climate is changing, Reed had a similar response to the one he gave at his meeting in Stockton earlier this year. “Climate is changing, I acknowledge that,” he said, adding. “Have humans contributed to it? Yes.”

When confronted as to why he still supports all forms of energy, even the ones contributing to greenhouse gases, Reed replied, “I still believe there’s a portfolio need for natural gas. To switch to an all-renewable economy overnight, I just don’t see it happening.”

An audience member in dialogue with Reed then said, “Well it doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it needs to happen.”

Regarding local wind farms and turbines, Reed also commented, “I believe local government should control how these are developed and how they are sited.”

Nazis and Marijuana

After the official final question on post office retirement benefits was given to Reed by his assistant, a woman approached Reed with a plaque full of her father’s World War II regalia, and asked him, “Almost half a million Americans died fighting Nazis in World War II…My daughter is biracial and she was attacked by Nazis…do you support the hate that the president is talking about?”

In response, Reed stated, “I do not support Nazism, I do not support white supremacy, I think that is offensive and is something we should be united as Americans against. I have criticized the president’s rhetoric when I’ve felt appropriate, but I will tell you right here and right now, I don’t believe the man is racist.”

The room instantly split into a small-form shouting match, while the woman with the plaque exclaimed, “Trump is giving them permission!”

As Reed’s assistant shut down the meeting, one audience member shouted over the clapping, “What do you think about legalizing marijuana?”

Reed seemed to chuckle and gave a quick response, “I am supportive of medical marijuana, I’ve said that in the past, and I think it’s just something we should leave up to the individual states.”