Hulahan’s Sixth Annual State Addresses Economy, Ukraine

PHOENIXVILLE — U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th Dist., presented her third annual “State of the Sixth” town hall at the Colonial Theater, reviewing the year’s events and the impact she and the federal government have had to deal with it.

It was her second state of the sixth delivered in person, last year being virtual due to COVID restrictions, and one of 19 town halls she has held since taking office – more than any other member of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation, according to his office.

And though Houlahan said she was there to “discuss politics, not politics” on Tuesday, politics wasn’t hard to come by with supporters of real estate agent Ron Vogel, one of four Republicans to seeking the nomination to run against her, waving signs outside the theater and many of Houlahan’s political discussions focusing on her accomplishments in office.

Supporters of Republican Ron Vogel, who hopes to win the Republican primary and face Houlahan in the fall election, held signs outside City Hall at the Colonial Theater on Tuesday night. (Evan Brandt – Media News Group)

Houlahan, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary in May, will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election in November. The other Republican candidates are businessman Steve Fanelli, businesswoman Regina Mauro and former Chester County Chamber of Commerce president Guy Ciarrocchi.

As for Houlahan’s record, a slide projected on the screen during her presentation showed that she was leading on 30 bills, 86% of which are bipartisan; co-sponsored 360 others, 56% of which were bipartisan, and returned $9.5 million federal to the district and its constituents.

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th Dist., presents her record at Tuesday’s “State of the Sixth” town hall meeting in Phoenixville. (Evan Brandt – Media News Group)

“Considering that my office and I cost taxpayers $1.3 million, I think that’s a pretty good return on investment,” said Houlahan, a former business owner, as well as a former teacher and veteran. of the United States Air Force.

Houlahan said she only missed two votes in her three years — the best voting record of any member of the Pennsylvania delegation, according to her office.

Houlahan highlighted the bipartisan nature of his record, saying he suits the 6th District, which includes Chester County and part of Berks County, and is made up of 40% Democrats, 40% Republicans and 20 % of independents.

Between her prepared comments and the half-dozen questions she posed to voters, Houlahan covered a wide range of topics, from taxes to inflation, infrastructure to immigration, education to healthcare. and from COVID to climate change.

U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan shows a map of the Sixth District with directions for all the ways the federal government has provided health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Evan Brandt – Media News Group)

Houlahan said the economy is growing as the country emerges from COVID restrictions, with “the fastest job growth in 40 years and unemployment down to 3.6% nationally.” We have room to grow, there are thousands of jobs available in the sixth.

The counterbalance to this bullish narrative is rising prices caused by inflation, and Houlahan said she co-founded the Congressional Inflation Task Force which targets things the federal government can do to ameliorate the challenges of supply chain to keep prices low.

Houlahan said she also wants to help families facing high student debt, proposing a bill that offers debt forgiveness to graduates who “serve for six years” either in the military or as a teachers, nurses, doctors or emergency service workers.

“I don’t want to see the government making huge profits on students, but I want students to have a say,” she said.

She has ‘enormous concerns’ about the impending closure of hospitals in Brandywine and Jennersville and said she appreciates Chester County Hospital expanding its emergency room to handle the resulting overflow. Houlahan also touted $300,000 in federal funds provided to Chester County to establish a 988 hotline for those in the midst of a behavioral health crisis.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Houlahan also said she is concerned about proposed changes to the Coatesville Veterans Administration hospital and hopes to arrange a visit from the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs. , Denis McDonough “to see what we’re doing here.”

Houlahan is also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and said he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just weeks before the Russian invasion. She posted a copy of the March 4 letter she co-wrote asking President Joe Biden to suspend all Russian oil imports and the bipartisan support she saw for defending Ukraine.

This photo displayed during U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan’s state at the ‘Sixth Town Hall Tuesday’ shows her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Belgium a few weeks before the Russian invasion. (Evan Brandt – Media News Group)

She said she recognized cutting off Russian oil would cause pain at the gas pump, but said “we can’t fund Putin’s war crimes.” Houlahan also ironically mentioned that “I am very proud to have been personally sanctioned by the Kremlin itself.”

The war in Europe and the Jan. 6 insurrection are lessons in ‘the fragility of democracies’ and Houlahan said she supports reforms to make it easier to vote in the US and make Election Day a holiday. national.

“My brother works as a nurse in Iowa and he works 12 hours a day, and it’s an hour to and from work, there’s no way he can get home to vote, and that’s is just plain wrong,” she said.

U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan points out that the redistricting following the 2020 census brought little change to the Sixth District. (Evan Brandt – Media News Group)

The daughter of a Holocaust refugee, Houlahan said she appreciates what the United States offers those seeking a better life and would like to see immigration reformed to make it easier for highly educated foreign-born people. skilled workers, as well as desperately needed workers. by the agriculture and landscape industries, to become legal citizens of the United States

Noting that a visit to the southern border convinced her it is “a really dysfunctional system,” Houlahan said “this place is not full. Look at me, a refugee daughter now serving in the US Congress. This is the kind of story that needs to happen again and again.

Once a year, U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th Dist., holds a city she calls “the Sixth State.” (Evan Brandt – Media News Group)

While she acknowledged it was “too little, too slow,” Houlahan said she sees signs that some Republicans recognize the dangers posed by climate change, particularly in the language they use. She also noted that the armed forces have long recognized the danger they pose to the nation’s bases and equipment, forcing Congress to face some hard truths.

Damage from increasingly frequent storms like Ida also makes the reality of climate change harder to ignore, she said.

“We’ve had to make some really tough choices ‘over the past two years’ and I sincerely hope our best days are ahead of us,” Houlahan said.

She reminded the audience that “just as there are no perfect circumstances, there is no perfect legislation”, adding a quote from philosopher Voltair that “perfection is the enemy of good”.

Houlahan concluded with a few lines from “The Hill We Climb,” the poem by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read at the inauguration of President Joe Biden:

“And so we look up not to what stands between us, but to what stands before us.”

About Mark A. Tomlin

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