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Conversations With Enrique Cerna

Congressman Dave Reichert Answers Questions on Trump, the Affordable Care Act and More

February 23, 2017

Enrique Cerna sits down with Washington Congressman Dave Reichert in a Facebook Live interview to talk about the legal battle over the Trump Administration travel ban, the future of the Affordable Care Act, and other pressing issues facing our state and the nation.

Read an Op-ed by Congressman Dave Reichert and John Lewis on bringing America together again: Civil rights leader and veteran sheriff form unlikely partnership

Download the Transcript (PDF)


1:00 - Why are you not holding any town halls? This is not a town hall. Why are you afraid to meet us?
Mike, Renton

11:50 - I read your press release and understand you think the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is too expensive and too limited in its choices. But the Republican plan to convert our state’s Applecare program to a block grant and shift expenses to individuals using health saving plans while giving tax breaks to the wealthy is no solution. What is your solution to make health care affordable for us and attractive for insurance companies?
Glenn, Leavenworth

15:40 - Why did you vote to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this year? Congress reversed course on this vote, but only after a lot of negative publicity. No promise has been made not to take another vote on this issue, merely to shelve the issue temporarily. Given the extremely questionable ethics of the President and his cabinet picks, and their unwillingness to be transparent with their potential personal financial benefits resulting from government action, why didn’t you vote to set the example in the House of Representatives?
Dan, Sammamish

18:55 -The Department of Homeland Security recently laid out the Trump administration's plans for aggressive enforcement of immigration laws, including using local law enforcement officers to detain undocumented people during routine stops. As a former Sheriff, what is your position on this? Do you support Trump's plan on immigration, or will you join many representatives in this state that will fight to protect immigrants already here?
Megan, Covington

25:17 - Will you work with your Democrat and Independent peers in legislating the means to ensure that senior citizens like myself and yourself do not lose any benefits to Social Security and Medicare? Many of us would suffer by reduction of benefits, no matter how that may be devised.
Linda, Leavenworth

27:26 - I would like to know why Congressman Reichert is not actively pursuing the information about Mr. Trump's tax returns. At the very least it would let us know that he is not involved financially with Russia.
Laurel, Kent

30:36 - Can you honestly say that Donald Trump would have won the election without Russian help? As a first rate investigator, would you stake your reputation on it?
John, Kent

32:10 - Do you approve of Steve Bannon's appointment to the National Security Council? Why or why not?
Diane, Fall City

34:13 - What specific steps are you taking to reopen access to Cottonwood Camp in the North Cascades National Park? The American people have been severely limited in their access to the Park.
Randall, Stehekin

35:37 - What will you do to fund Planned Parenthood health care services now and into the future? This organization provides many services to families and individuals.
Dalice, Auburn

38:46 - Congressman, I've seen reports that the president's first budget intends to cut funding for PBS.
I was raised on Sesame Street and am now glad to have programming like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood to provide educational programming for my young son.
Will you fight to keep funding for PBS (CPB)?
Vanessa, Auburn

40:00 - Should funding to these programs be eliminated?

  • The Legal Services Corporation
  • AmeriCorps
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Export-Import Bank


41:42 - Why is Michael Flynn (former National Security Adviser-talked about sanctions with Russian) not being prosecuted for a felony crime as stipulated in the Logan Act?
James, Kent

42:38 - In a divided and anxious time, America is depending on Congressional Republicans to defend our essential democratic institutions such as a free press, independent judiciary and congressional checks and balances on administrative powers. Will you add your voice to those condemning denigration of these institutions?
Suzanne C, Indianola


There are 41 comments

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This man is very clearly not interested in representing his constituents.  He is afraid to meet with people because of rudeness?  He is apparently not up to the job.  This man needs to be replaced, as he has forgotten that he works for us   

This interview is not a substitute for a live town hall with your constituents in any way.  Seattle Times reports EVERY other Washington Congressional representative has had at town hall meetings in the last four years except Dave Reichert.  Some representative have had 30, 40 or more town halls while Dave has held ZERO.  One of your obligations is to meet with your constituents as literally hundreds of other Representatives and Senators are doing.  If you are not willing to do the job we elected you to do, I suggest you step down.  If you don't choose one option or the other, we will choose for you in 2018.  Please do your job that we elected you to do.

Other members of Congress hold town hall meetings, why don't you? Seems to me that not having a face to face meeting with your constiuents is a sign of cowardice. Your constiuents are entitled to meet with you in person. We elected you to represent us in Washigton D.C., but you won't listen to us at a town hall meeting. What's up with that? The only ways we can communicate with you is by leaving a message or emailing you. Shame on you.

It is really a shame that Congressman Reichert will not meet in public with his constituents.  Not all of them are on Facebook or even have access to computers.  He has gone missing from the people that he represents.  I sent an email with concerns of mine and asked for a response and have not gotten one.  Sad.

My husband and I have sent multiple emails with concerns and also asking for clarification on Senator Reichert's position on healthcare reform, investigation of the White House etc. The silence has been deafening and I am offended. Not one reply. It makes me very fearful. I have always felt Senator Reichert was a worthy representative for us in DC, even if I was not in agreement with all his votes. I feel very differently now.

I would like to know why this is essentially a private event where the public is not invited?  Was this at the request of the Congressman, or KCTS?

Reichert requested it. He has expressed concerns about the constituents he represents turning a town hall meeting into some "dangerous situation" for him. I think if that is his perception of us as a majority then he doesn't know us at all. If he doesn't know us how can he represent us so I vote no in the next election.

Congressman Riechert, I have two questions.   What is your opinion of the drastic changes the House bill will have on our educational system as it now stands?  Will it affect those with learning disabilities, the homeless, and hungry?   Secondly,  if you were going to file to begin receiving Social Security, would you do so immediately to avoid any problems?

When will you hold an in person town hall meeting for constituents?

Congressman Reichert,As King County Sheriff, although you were an elected official you had a lot of autonomy when it came to making decisions on behalf of the community.As an elected Congressman, however, you represent your constituents and have much less autonomy when it's time to cast a vote in Congress. While your positions on various issues are listed on your website, frankly those positions are not relevant when it comes time to vote. You are supposed to vote in accordance with your constituents’ requests, not however you or your political party want to vote.Therefore, please describe how you hold yourself accountable to your constituents wishes. How do you keep track of constituent feedback and how often do you review it? And most importantly, how do you apply constituent feedback to determine the way you will vote, especially when your constituents ask you to vote in opposition to the GOP’s agenda?Thank you.Stephanie in Kent, WA

Congressman -- what's the accomplishment over the last 2-3 years where you played a significant role (wouldn't have happened without you) that you are most proud of, and what's your biggest regret or "still-to-get-done" issue this term?

we deserve better than this!

I attended a town hall meeting in Cashmere with out you where everyone was respectful with their comments and questions.  That video was submitted to you and a lot of the conversation was about ACA.  Many of the folks in Chelan County benefit from ACA and as a free clinic volunteer at Cascade Hospital, I see many people who need health care.  Why do you continue to vote against something that is helping so many of the people in one of your counties?

Why are congressional representatives not pushing for a bipartisian investigation of Trump's ties with Russia and demanding his tax returns? Our national security is at risk with this treasonous president. The Gop has wasted 18 million dollars on 13 investigations of Hillary Clinton  finding no fault but they are not willing to investigate a real and present danger to our country  with Trump's Russia? for real?

I completely agree with Pamela. Trump’s Russia connection could be a serious threat to national security. Obama had to show his birth certificate – make Trump show his taxes.

why won't you return phone calls?

This is cowardly and a poor excuse for meeting with your constituents.  Holding it in the middle of the day, when most people are at work, appears to be just a way to hide from people who have legitimate concerns about what is happening in Washington and deserve to know whether you will represent us or just be another congressional "yes man" - afraid to stray from the Republican party line.

I really want to know how, after being so proud of catching the Green River Killer, he plans to support something that will kill more people than Gary Ridgway ever dreamed of by repealing the ACA without an adequate replacement.

I have questions about how you are going to replace the ACA with something better? Please,explain. Also, this seems like a really chicken way to go about meeting your public.

Sir you work for all your constituents, why are you afraid to meet with them in person? Democracy can be messy and you signed up to represent us. You are more disrespectful to your own position than any angry protester could ever be.

The video isn't playing. 2nd time today.

I am so sorry that anyone calls and is disrespectful to your staff. That should NEVER happen.

Why did you vote against requesting Donald Trump's tax returns from the U.S. Treasury? You didn't answe this question. What about conflicts of interest? The people of the United States deserve to know this information, and not demanding Trump's tax returns is both unethical and wrong. We the people will not forget who you sided with.Your failure to show up at a town meeting of your constituents smacks of cowardice. The excuses you offered don't add up. Name one example of violence at a town hall meeting.Instead of repealing ACA, why not tweak to make a better system and take the credit? Saves time and a ton of the taxpayer's money. Makes insurance companies happy, too.


Dave, as a former prosecutor I find it unfathomable you don't seek answers for us that involve the nation.No one will rest or trust Mr Trump until his business with Russia and their involvement in our elections. Why did you vote no? Its actually un American..

How can I watch the town hall?  I don't seem to be able to download it.  Can you help?

After listenting to you tonight on KCTS9, I now feel a little better at what you said about Social Security and Medicare for me as a Baby Boomer, who is on both!  My husband worked for 35 years 16 years in Colorado for a company that closed their doors and he lost his complete retirement in Colorado.  We came to Washington in 1985 he worked for NEPCO for 20 years and then when Enron bought NEPCO and went bankrupt he lost his complete retirement which was over $100,000.  Then after two back surgeries which were over 200,000.00 he ended up with an infection and died in 20005.  So now I only have his Social Security to live on, without it I would be out on the streets!  Thanks goodness, while he was working he did have great Medical Insurance or we would have never made it, since from the day we came to Washington he was in the hospital, for cancer, stomach surgery, and then 2 back operations because of birth defects that he had no ideal he had.  Both my mother and sister had Breast Cancer and my twin sister and I could also have this in the future!To say I could write a book on my life, with everything I have gone thorugh, Adopting two children after finding out that both of us that were born premature caused.  My father died at 35 years old leaving my mother to raise me and my twin sister and young sister all by herself on very little money from Social Security and Va.  My father was in the 157th Thunderbird divsion in the army during World War II.  He was shot in Italy in the leg, but yet made it to Normandy France and then on to Germany, where his division was the first ones into the Dachua Concentration Camp. Thank you for everything you are doing in Washington!Charleen Schuster, Issquah, Wa.

Cop out!

I might feel differently about Congressman Reichert not appearing at a Town Hall Meeting IF he had an established record of attending the many community public candidate forums that he's been invited to attend over this 12 year period. Because he rarely takes part in these orderly and important community educational events, his opponent has been unable to take the stage and get his/her due attention. This has worked very well for our Congressman as he's been able to avoid publicly explaining some of his votes in "How Your Congressman Voted", in Seattle Times.

In your interview you comment on the many extremely angry phonecalls and messages that your office receives. You believe this behavior prevents you from holding public discourse. This angry, no-holds-barred attitude is not new. It was spawned by right-wing talk radio, taken up by teaparty conservatives and kept at the forefront of political conversation by Donald Trump. You reap what you sow.  The more ways you can align yourself with your constituents and the further you distance yourself from the miasma surrounding Trump, the sooner you will find the atmosphere of public relations improve.

No sound?

After leaving the sheriff's office what accomplishments can you attone for? Your record as a congressman shows very little if any involvement with the community what can you show us that you've done? PS : if you can't face your constituents your not fit for duty, you chicken,

Frankly, I didn't expect to come away from this interview respecting Reichart....However, by the end I thought he gave some excellent answers and had a pretty fair, common sense approach.  Over 50,000 people have watched this already - and it was a very well done interview.  Even though I live in Kentucky now - I originally voted against Reichart when I lived in Issaquah.  I'm happy to see he has grown a lot in the job and isn't a far right crazy.  Thanks Enrique!

Dear Congressman Reichert,I just watched your Facebook live meeting.  I think you have a really tough job given the current political climate.  I appreciate your candidness.  I would really appreciate it if you would do more of these.  I understand your not wanting to have these discussions in a less controlled environment but I think it would serve you well to do both.  Thank you.

Mr. Cerna's work is as always top notch, but by design this effort fails because it enables Representative Reichert to avoid his constituents (they are the principals, he is the agent), to avoid follow up questions and to give the to appearance of being a representative.  President Trump's cabinet members were selected to eviscerate the departments they lead.  Not my notion, but Mr. Bannon's speaking at the CPAC convention today.  Reichert avows little knowledge about Bannon.  Perhaps he should learn more about Bannon and his alt reich followers.  Reichert wants to give the power to enforce federal constitutional rights back to the states.  So the states can ignor them. Regardless, they will be ignored or restricted by A.G. Sessions, who is already going after transgender kids.  Reichert believes we should have faith in House and Senate committee investigations of Trump's financial improprieties and his campaign's possible collusion with Russia to swing the election.  Today we learn that the administration contacted the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence committees last week and asking them to contact the press and advise the press there is nothing to these investigations.  The chairmen complied!  There should be an INDEPENDENT investigation!  We send the Vice President to Europe to assuage the fears of the leaders there that the President is unstable, a sociopath, and a lunatic. He hasn't even realized that the election is over.  Who has the nuclear code?  We would feel safer if Pence had it, but he is not the President.  Bannon is supposed to be the President's brain...???  The Republican Party nominated this person who is totally incapable performing the duties of the Presidency.  It is not a part time job.  Representative Reichert, perhaps you should be thinking about this before the President launches us into another war for oil,  or a nuclear holocaust...and before the next election. In the meantime I am hopeful that we will not need wear a HASMAT suit and carry a fire extinguisher before taking a stroll along the Puget Sound or the Wenatchee River.  The public sector (taxpayers) is still paying to clean up the messes left by the last generation of profiteers.

I support your approach to Town Hall meetings.  Reading through the comments that have been posted, it's clear many of the respondants are not repectful and would not allow an orderly meeting where you would be allowed to answer questions.  Thank you very much for your service and for your sound representation of our district.


This is my third attempt to post a comment. What is going on?

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I might feel differently about Congressman Reichert not appearing at a Town Hall Meeting IF he had an established record of attending the many community candidate forums that he's been invited to attend over this 12 year period. Because he rarely takes part in these orderly and important community educational events, his opponent has been unable to take the stage and get his/her due attention. This has worked very well for our Congressman as he's been able to avoid publicly explaining some of his votes in "How Your Congressman Voted", in Seattle Times.

I'm hard of hearing and couldn't find how to view the captions of this program event with Dave Reichert.  Thus, I'm trying to get the text version of the answers to the posted questions.  How do I request this from KCTS 9?  Thanks in advance for your assistance with this issue.