Congressman Sean Maloney (NY-18) held his last “Speaking with Sean” town hall in New Windsor this past Sunday. The town hall took place in the New Windsor Justice Hall. The room was packed from front to back with residents from all over the district.
Maloney held four town halls in Bedford, Putnam Valley, Poughkeepsie, and New Windsor this past weekend. Topics of discussion ranged from local to national issues. Constituents asked about Maloney’s personal stance on issues like reproductive rights and impeachment. Some constituents asked Maloney for help with their personal issues. The town hall ended up going an hour over time and lasting around two hours.
One exchange was a back and forth oriented around free trade, and tariffs implemented on China. Although Maloney expressed agreement over the success of the United States-Mexico-Canada [USMCA] trade policy, he criticized other aspects of Trump’s policies.
“The deficit for China is getting worse not better,” said Maloney. “The tariffs ain’t such a great strategy.” Maloney emphasized that the focus should be American workers when it comes to economic policy. He explained that he hoped that the constituent would be able to take into account every aspect of Trump’s policies.
Despite occasionally being confronted with tense exchanges, Maloney managed to have diplomatic conversations. He explained that he didn’t want to hold the town hall as a biased partisan, and that he wanted to be open and honest with constituents.
One constituent questioned how Maloney’s vote for Trump’s impeachment mixes with his role as a representative of the 18th congressional district, which voted heavily for Trump in the 2016 election.
“It’s an example of a politician coming here and standing on his own two feet and saying: I believe the President of the United States betrayed his country and his oath,” said Maloney. “I think it’s wrong.”
The room echoed with cheers, whistles, and applause as Maloney iterated his stance.
“I know that the people of my district supported him,” said Maloney.
“I do think every representative has two jobs. One is to represent you and to be your voice in Washington. The other one, which is equally responsible, is to use my best judgement and to tell you what I think; what’s right and wrong.”
Maloney criticized the Senate’s blocking of witnesses and evidence.
After a brief discussion over Maloney’s stance on impeachment, the constituent asked Maloney on his stance over abortion.
“I believe that life begins at conception,” said the constituent to groans throughout the room.
“What about the kids in cages?” yelled Kelly Jones, a representative of Moms Demand Action and a staunch Democrat. The crowd cheered and applauded in agreement.
Maloney asked the audience to allow the man to speak and give him respect, despite him having a differing opinion from a majority of the room.
“I believe that you can believe that, and I do respect that belief,” said Maloney in response. “What I also believe is that a bunch of politicians can’t tell a woman and her doctor what she can do with her body.”
After the exchange ended, Jones addressed Maloney. In a passionate statement, the Newburgh resident spoke over her son. Her son will be taken off of her health insurance in one year, as he will be over the parental-child 26-year-old age limit for insurance coverage. Her son is a juvenile diabetic who depends on insulin. Jones explained that insulin is too expensive.
“He can’t afford to pay 500 dollars a bottle of insulin,” said Jones. “What can you do in the state of New York to cap a bottle of insulin at 100 dollars a bottle?”
Maloney responded that congress is making efforts to lower prescription drug costs with legislation. Maloney emphasized that lowering prescription drug costs shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
As the town hall continued, more and more constituents rose their hands to speak to Maloney. Still, the town hall had to eventually end.
A volunteer for the Board of Elections made the last comment.
“You should show up and register to vote,” she said. She finished by saying that a lot of the concerns raised could be alleviated with active voter participation.
Note: There was a misprint in the printed edition of this article. The Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act has no relation to prescription drug legislation.
The sentence on Jones' son's insurance policy was rephrased to clarify that Jones' son will be taken off of her health insurance plan.