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April 30, 2017

Los Angeles Times: And now for something different: Freshman Rep. Nanette Barragán faces a gentle crowd at San Pedro town hall

BY Javier Panzar

Read the article on the Los Angeles Times website

Congressional town halls in the early days of the Trump administration have been greeted with protests, counter-protests, boos and jeering.

Not so for freshman Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro), who represents a district stretching from Compton to the Port of Los Angeles.

“This is good,” she said about halfway through her hour-and-a-half-long town hall Wednesday in San Pedro. “I haven’t had any tomatoes thrown at me.”

It helps that 61.5% of registered voters in her district are Democrats, but other members in safe Democratic districts, including Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk), have faced protests from Trump’s supporters.

Things were calm for Barragán, who won the seat last year with 52.2% of the vote after a heated race to replace Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn.

She introduced herself, spoke about a recent tour she and the other Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Committee took of the port and introduced her staffers one by one. She fielded questions ranging from how she’d protect benefits for retired federal employees to whether she supports a so-called “Medicare for all” plan (she does).

At one point, a woman in the audience from Wilmington asked Barragán for help getting access to a city and county fund intended to help immigrants in the country without legal status.

Barragán answered the question in Spanish, referring the woman to a nearby caseworker.

Bill Roberson, who described himself as a semi-retired business owner, sat in the back row of the audience and nodded with approval.

“I really like this gal. She is really terrific,” he said. “To have her speak in Spanish with her constituent right in front of me, that’s great.”