Congressman Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., doesn’t think he would win a spot in the California governor’s office, but maybe he would in the state of Jefferson.
LaMalfa’s comment was a joking response to a question at an impromptu town hall at the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair on Saturday afternoon, but he also expressed his support for the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors’ vote earlier this week to pursue secession from the state of California.
“Every uprising has to start somewhere,” LaMalfa said after the town hall. “It’s something that needs to come from the people.”
The Republican representative for California’s first congressional district said if the state of Jefferson was something the people of that area, which includes parts of Northern California and Southern Oregon, wanted, he would support the new state at the legislative level.
LaMalfa said he was proud of the people of the county for taking the first step.
“I encourage people that if this really lights a fire for them, go for it,” LaMalfa said.
LaMalfa said he was glad to be in Tulelake, and participated in the fair parade earlier in the day before the town hall, which drew several dozen people away from the fair entertainment.
LaMalfa also expressed his thoughts on the United States taking military action in Syria, which will be the first order of business when he returns to Washington, D.C., on Monday.
As a country, we can’t condone the civil war in Syria, LaMalfa said. But without more convincing information, he said he’s unlikely to vote yes to President Barack Obama’s suggested strikes.
LaMalfa said it’s his duty as a congressman to listen to the White House briefing before making his final decision, but he doesn’t have a lot of confidence that a strike is the best way to go and it will take a lot to convince him otherwise, he said.
One young man told LaMalfa during the town hall that he opposes any military action in Syria, in part because there is no proof that the much-talked-about chemical warfare against Syrian civilians came from the Assad regime.
“There’s so little that we actually know about this,” LaMalfa agreed.
The congressman, who sits on the natural resources and agriculture committees, also addressed other hot-button issues at the town hall, such as immigration, the Affordable Care Act, the farm bill and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Travel Management Plan.
LaMalfa received a round of applause from the crowd when he said he would work any way he could to stop or defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
In general, the proposed new health care system is not set up to work, LaMalfa said, explaining that both businesses and private citizens won’t be able to afford it.
“The numbers just don’t work,” LaMalfa said.
It’s backwards to think about requiring people to have full health insurance, LaMalfa said, explaining that a 22-year-old male might not need full coverage and choose to opt out, but then in case of an emergency, becomes a burden to taxpayers. The better option would be to allow people to choose the amount of coverage they need, he said.
“We’ve got to get back to the way of thinking that gives people more options, more plans,” LaMalfa said. “It’s a murky thing.”
The crowd also got fired up over LaMalfa’s comments on veterans’ benefits, the claims for which he said need to be processed in a timely manner, rather than giving bonuses to Veterans Affairs brass for keeping costs down.
The travel management plan also drew lots of comments from the town hall-goers. LaMalfa said he was appalled the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are limiting access, including for cutting timber, to what is supposed to be public land, which is detrimental to both forest health and the economy, he explained.
Overall, the congressman encouraged the crowd at the fair to exercise their right to vote to send a message about what they are happy with, and what they are not, to their government representatives.
“You can’t stay home from the elections,” LaMalfa said.