Listening sessions a step in the right direction

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Rep. Dan Newhouse’s three “listening sessions” with constituents this week in Moses Lake, Sunnyside and Yakima attracted many people who wanted to weigh in on the issues. Changes coming with the election of President Donald Trump are on voters’ minds. Some critics say Newhouse took too long to see the voters and attempt to answer their concerns. At any rate, we’re glad the sessions happened and there’s more to come in the Lower Yakima Valley today and in Okanogan County on April 20. It would be interesting to see if similar issues crop up.

We think Newhouse did the right thing by facing voters during this time of uncertainty with the new administration. Even if the listening sessions weren’t held as quickly as some would have liked. People who access healthcare via the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) are scared about talks of its appeal. In Moses Lake on Tuesday, voters were relentless with Newhouse and their questions showed good research and preparation. To his credit, Newhouse appeared to withstand the heat well and answered the questions to the best of his ability. We commend Newhouse for showing up to the sessions throughout the district in person and not taking the easy way out. The issues are too important not to. Even in a heavily Republican area like Moses Lake, it was clear the voters were not happy and wanted answers. They deserve that much.

Russian involvement in the presidential election, immigration issues, and internet privacy were also discussion topics during the Moses Lake event Tuesday.

In February, about 200 people took matters into their own hands and held a town hall meeting without Newhouse in the Tri-Cities, according to a Feb. 25 Tri-City Herald article. Comments were recorded for Newhouse to review at a later date.

We are glad local residents got involved, attended the listening session, and asked the tough questions. It is important to keep our lawmakers engaged with the public they serve.

— Editorial Board

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