State Politics

Idaho’s Labrador finds friendlier crowd in Canyon County for second town hall, but topic is still health care

Labrador holds town hall in Nampa

Rep. Raul Labrador held his second area town hall in Nampa Monday, again fielding numerous questions about health care reform and President Trump.
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Rep. Raul Labrador held his second area town hall in Nampa Monday, again fielding numerous questions about health care reform and President Trump.

In his second area public appearance in five days, Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador met a smaller, more conservative Canyon County audience in Nampa on Monday night for a town hall Q&A session again dominated by questions about health care policy and services.

The crowd of about 350 filled the meeting room at Mission Aviation Fellowship but was less than half the size of the group Labrador faced last week in Meridian. With much of the public’s built-up demand to hear from the fourth-term congressman satisfied by last week’s appearance, the tone Monday was more subdued, and the audience more in tune with the conservative lawmaker’s policy positions.

The first questioner thanked him for standing with the Freedom Caucus in opposing the Republican-led effort to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Labrador is a founding member of the conservative House caucus, whose opposition to the Republican health care reform plan set the caucus and President Trump at odds.

Another who rose to ask a question about immigration said he was a Labrador supporter and “a supporter of Donald Trump, but I support the Freedom Caucus more than I support Donald Trump.”

Some of the evening’s back-and-forth:

▪  Asked about the U.S.-Mexico border security. Labrador said, “I am for the wall,” adding: “We are a sovereign nation and we should decide who comes into the United States.”

▪  Labrador repeated his remark from Wednesday that there is no right or guarantee of heath care for citizens but rather a “moral responsibility” to care for those who can’t care for themselves. He defended his position that the Affordable Care Act had increased health care costs for most Americans.

▪  He said there was “not a lot of evidence” that humans contribute to climate change — an assertion regularly made by skeptics that is not accepted science.

▪  He repeated his assertion that public lands could be better managed “at the state level.”

▪  He said calls to see Trump’s tax returns were “a fishing expedition” and that those seeking them were just “unhappy with the election results.”

▪  On investigations regarding election meddling and possible collusion, Labrador said he trusted FBI Director James Comey and called him “an honorable man who’s trying to do the right thing.”

There were a couple of fiery moments, one coming when a Boise State University senior challenged Labrador on campaign contributions and campaign finance reform.

“Everything you said you’re wrong about,” Labrador responded, calling himself an “example of what you can do without relying on special interest groups.”

The Q&A finished a little after 9 p.m. after more than 2.5 hours. The congressman fielded 48 questions, according to his staff.

Bill Dentzer: 208-377-6438, @DentzerNews

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