Last night, US House of Representatives Candidate Ryan Watts spoke to a group of interested citizens in Rockingham County at the second town hall event of the campaign. The main topic of the event was education, but other issues addressed included the future of Social Security and Medicare, immigration, particularly the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families at the border, and the economy. Attendees shared their personal experiences with these issues and asked Mr. Watts questions about topics that concerned them. Audience members were brought to their feet with applause when Mr. Watts proposed offering Medicare as a public option to create more competition in the health insurance industry.
Mr. Watts also addressed audience concerns that the Democratic Party does not have a single coherent message, saying “I’m proud that we care about so many issues.” One audience member brought up the possibility of requiring drug testing for recipients of federal benefits programs, and Mr. Watts recognized the desire for benefits recipients not to use said benefits for illegal drugs but said that the expense of such drug testing programs is frequently greater than the overall benefit to the system as a whole. He then went on to explain that he preferred to instead use those funds to support rehabilitation programs for individuals struggling with addiction and seeking help.
Regarding education, Mr. Watts emphasized the importance of paying teachers a living wage and promoting recruitment of teachers who are experts in their fields. He also stressed that community colleges and vocational schools must be more affordable to students, and the need to lower the interest rate on student loans. Citizens of the district will have the opportunity to meet and speak with Mr. Watts throughout the coming months. The campaign has scheduled at least one town-hall event in every county leading up to the election in November. More details about upcoming town halls can be found on the campaign website at www.wattsforcongress.com/events, or on the campaign’s Facebook page. The next town hall in the series will be on Thursday, July 12th at 6:30 pm at Alamance Community College.