Pamplin Media Group – Bentz donates town hall to community center

Discussions of the national debt, Chinese relations and the Respect for Marriage Act were big topics of conversation

U.S. Representative Cliff Bentz (R-Oregon) from Oregon’s Second Congressional District held a town hall meeting Saturday at the Jefferson County Community Center.

The town hall, attended by about 20 people from across the county, is one of several town halls Bentz is holding in his district ahead of the November election.

The event began with Bentz describing his background in law and politics representing Eastern Oregon. He also pointed to the issues he sees at the forefront of Congress.

Bentz cited the high national debt, relations with Taiwan and China and rising costs for Americans as pressing issues. After speaking, he answered questions from the audience.

The first question he received was about his vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, which was passed by the Senate in July. This bill gives legal authority to same-sex and interracial marriage. Bentz, a Republican who said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, voted yes to the bill, ahead of many of his fellow Republicans.

Bentz quoted Donald Trump in his response, sharing Trump’s position on the matter in 2016, “It’s the law; it’s been in the Supreme Court. It’s done.”

Bentz also cited the second part of the bill as an important reason for his support. The bill not only codifies same-sex marriage, but also interracial marriage. “People have this impression that Eastern Oregon is racist, and it’s not true,” Bentz said. “I want to represent our people and a vote against that would only add to the stereotype.”

Bentz also answered questions about deteriorating relations with China after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan. Those in the town hall have expressed concerns about the possibility of war and a draft because of these deteriorating relations. Bentz shared that he was not on any national security committee, but was focused on keeping Americans safe, and saw the potential impacts that deteriorating relations could have on commerce and the supply chain. supply, like the computer chips that America uses, largely from Taiwan.

A final question for Bentz came from Mark Wunsch, who is running for county commissioner in November. Wunsch asked Bentz about the rising national debt and what solutions Bentz was considering. Wunsch expressed concern for his generation as they inherit ever-increasing debt as a country. Bentz said he shared concerns about budget growth and cited high Medicare costs due to an aging population as a major factor. Bentz also shared that he hopes all of his colleagues across the aisle can come together to work on this debt.


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Jill E. Washington