By Don Iler • News Editor • 

Bonamici town hall draws about a dozen

During the hour-long event, the 1st District Democrat fielded questions from audience members and spoke for 20 minutes about her accomplishments in Congress.

She touted passage of a comprehensive farm bill, a measure designed to improve weather forecasting ability and legislation providing local reimbursement for tsunami debris removal. She also highlighted her sponsorship of an amendment protecting hemp growers in 16 states, including Oregon, from federal Department of Justice sanctions.

Speaking to the latter, she said, “The DEA shouldn’t waste resources on hemp. It’s rope, not dope.”

When asked by a member of the audience if her response meant she supported legalization of marijuana, psychoactive cousin of the hemp plant, Bonamici said it did not. She said she has taken a stand in support of industrial hemp, not commercial marijuana. 

Asked about her opinion on net neutrality, and how recent FCC moves figure to affect it, Bonamici expressed strong support for the net neutrality concept. She said she was working closely with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon’s senior senator, on the issue.

Another member of the audience asked how she felt about mills closing in Oregon while the state is continuing to export raw logs to Asia.

“We need better timber policy,” Bonamici said. “We need to revitalize our economy, especially in rural areas.”

Bonamici said she was working on a “Make it America” effort designed to revitalize American manufacturing.  

Newberg exterminator Jason Yates, the Republican candidate facing Bonamici in the November general election, attended the proceedings.

He asked the congresswoman about the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s controversial swap of five Taliban prisoners for POW Bowe Berghdal.

Bonamici said she would be returning to Washington that evening to participate in a classified briefing on the swap. 

“I want to make sure my decisions are based on facts,” she said. “Mr. Yates says that it’s unconstitutional, but there are other legal scholars, including the attorney general, who say it is not.”

She said she needed more information before she took any position on the issue. 

Bonamici said she anticipated Congress addressing immigration reform after the summer recess, before the election in November. 

Toward the end of the town hall, County Commissioner Allen Springer said he appreciated Bonamici’s support of the Newberg-Dundee bypass and her letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in support of a grant application for the project.

Bonamici was elected in 2011, following the resignation of predecessor David Wu. She won re-election in 2012.

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