Constituents of the 3rd Congressional District asked Rep. Mike Rogers questions that ranged from climate change to workforce development Tuesday during a town-hall meeting.
The town hall was held in the Southern Room at Southern Union State Community College, and Rogers spent about an hour listening to citizen comments and sharing his views with them.
Two attendees expressed their concern about climate change, and one specifically asked the Congressman if he will support H.R.763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.
Rogers said he will not, because he does not agree with it.
The bill would impose “a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” according to Congress.gov.
Others in attendance shared their concerns about rural hospitals, rural broadband access, Medicaid expansion and heated rhetoric in the political realm.
The Republican Rogers did get a laugh from several constituents in attendance when he answered an Auburn man’s comment about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
“We all know that the Mueller report is going to be released fairly soon,” the man said. “I understand that maybe some parts of that, due to national security reasons, may need to be redacted. But I would like you to support releasing whatever parts of that report can be released, so that it’s less of a political football that will be used by both sides in upcoming elections.”
The Congressman responded by saying he did that last week, when the House unanimously passed a resolution on the topic.
“All Democrats and Republicans voted for it, that when the Mueller report’s released, it should be released to the public, every bit of it…” he said. “That was a strong vote by the House of Representatives. We couldn’t agree on a resolution saying today’s Tuesday, and we agreed on that.”
One woman, who identified herself as a legal immigrant, voiced her concern about the cost of illegal immigration in the United States.
“We are paying a tremendous amount, and now we have families coming over the border. And the children are going to go to school,” she said. “They’re going to get…health care… it’s going to cost us a lot of money. I had to lift my hand and promise not to be a burden to my new country when I came. Now I’m sponsoring illegal aliens, and it doesn’t make me happy.”
Rogers told her that he has been on the Homeland Security Committee since before it was a standing committee, as well as “a strong advocate of securing the border” going back to the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
He reminded those in the room of President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to attempt to secure funding for a border wall.
Southern Union President Todd Shackett asked Rogers about workforce development, telling the Congressman that local industries are limited by the amount of skilled workers they can get.
We can train anybody from any background to get those skills and fill those jobs,” Shackett said. “Are we doing anything at the national level to incentivize or promote moving into more of the classical skilled trades, industrial technology, health services, some of these badly-needed jobs that pay very well and change lives?”
Rogers said he expects the Trump administration to come forward with a package to put more resources into workforce development than have been.
“The fact is, we have a real shortage across the country with folks pursuing those kinds of educational opportunities,” Rogers said. “We need to find a way as a country to stop stigmatizing these trade professions and start letting people know these are valuable ways to make a living and contribute to our country’s needs.”