Town Hall meetings are popular these days. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (Dem., Cold Spring) drew close to a thousand people when he held three of them in one weekend.
He started in Poughkeepsie on Saturday afternoon, moved south to Fishkill, and then arrived in Newburgh just before noon on the following day.
The crowd in Newburgh was diverse. People came to the meeting for a variety of reasons. Some were sign-carrying foes of the administration. They cheered for much of what they heard, but were less enthusiastic when the Congressman became philosophical. “I want this country to succeed,” he said. “And if it succeeds under this guy, God bless him.”
On a few occasions, Rep. Maloney offered assurance to the spectators in front of him. “If we stick to the Constitution,” he told them, “we’ll be fine.”
Health insurance was another issue that brought people out at what normally would be lunch time. The Congressman acknowledged that health care, in general, is too expensive. He suggested that some of the people who wanted to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act are now suggesting that we repair it. “That’s what we all want,” Rep. Maloney exclaimed. “Let’s keep what works and let’s fix what doesn’t.”
Several people in the crowd of 300 were standing. When one of them mentioned contaminants in the water supply, the representative reminded them that, in his Newburgh office, he was drinking the same water they were. He promised to introduce legislation that will require the Center for Disease Control to conduct a two-year study on the effects of exposure to PFOS and PFOA — the contaminants that were found in Newburgh’s water supply.
The Congressman did not take a stand against the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal, but said that he was opposed to having more fuel-carrying barges on the Hudson, and he was against the continued operation of the nuclear plant at Indian Point.
The session was due to end at 12:30 p.m. But at one o’clock, Maloney staffers were checking their watches as their boss continued to answer questions.