‘Impeach’ isn’t at top of Wild’s list

Though res­i­dents mostly speak in fa­vor of in­quiry, she says other is­sues worry them more

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Laura Ol­son

Health care. Cli­mate change. Ed­u­ca­tion.

Those is­sues came up at U.S. Rep. Susan Wild’s town hall Wed­nes­day evening be­fore the long line of res­i­dents seek­ing to ques­tion their con­gress­woman asked her about the newly launched impeachmen­t in­quiry against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

That re­flected what Wild said she’s heard from con­stituents in the 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict dur­ing events since that probe was an­nounced last week. Calls to her of­fice have been over­whelm­ingly in fa­vor of the impeachmen­t in­quiry, Wild says, es­ti­mat­ing 85% have been in sup­port.

Dur­ing her vis­its to lo­cal busi­nesses and other spots in the dis­trict, which in­cludes Le­high, Northamp­ton and part of south­ern Mon­roe coun­ties, Wild says impeachmen­t hasn’t been com­ing up in con­ver­sa­tions. Peo­ple want to talk about other things.

At her town hall on Muh­len­berg Col­lege’s cam­pus, the first

ref­er­ence to impeachmen­t came in a ques­tion urg­ing Wild to fo­cus more on re­form­ing ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies in­stead of fo­cus­ing on impeachmen­t, draw­ing a groan from the friendly crowd.

Later on, the is­sue came up more bluntly from those in sup­port and in op­po­si­tion. Wild de­clined to ad­dress the pres­i­dent’s state of mind from a pro-impeachmen­t con­stituent who de­scribed Trump as “crazy.”

She had to quiet down au­di­ence mem­bers who shouted over an anti-impeachmen­t ques­tioner. Impeachmen­t was not what she came to Congress to tackle, Wild said, de­scrib­ing the pres­i­dent’s phone call with the Ukrainian pres­i­dent as ris­ing to a level that re­quired Congress to act.

“The prece­dent we would set by ig­nor­ing this … it’s un­ac­cept­able,” Wild told the crowd of roughly 250 peo­ple, adding that her goal is to see a thor­ough but fast in­ves­ti­ga­tion in which “the facts are laid out wher­ever they may lead.”

Wild em­pha­sized sev­eral times that her pri­mary fo­cus is not on the impeachmen­t probe, which will be han­dled by law­mak­ers who serve on other com­mit­tees in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“My dis­trict is more in­ter­ested in know­ing about pre­scrip­tion drug prices and what we’re go­ing to do about the price of in­sulin,” Wild said, draw­ing ap­plause.

Wild was among a swell of House Democrats who came out last week in sup­port of an impeachmen­t in­quiry amid the rev­e­la­tions of a whistle­blower com­plaint de­scrib­ing ef­forts by the pres­i­dent to pres­sure the Ukrainian pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den’s fam­ily.

The White House re­leased notes

“My dis­trict is more in­ter­ested in know­ing about pre­scrip­tion drug prices and what we’re go­ing to do about the price of in­sulin.” — U.S. Rep. Susan Wild

from that phone call, and Trump has de­fended any wrong­do­ing in that con­ver­sa­tion.

The 7th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict is viewed as one of the most com­pet­i­tive con­gres­sional seats in the coun­try.

Vot­ers in the dis­trict, which skew Demo­cratic, fa­vored Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race by only 1 per­cent­age point. Wild won the dis­trict by 10 points in Novem­ber.

Among those lis­ten­ing to Wild’s an­swers on impeachmen­t was South White­hall Town­ship res­i­dent Glenn Hall, whose first ques­tion in a stack of cards writ­ten out be­fore the event was on how she’d vote.

Hall, a Repub­li­can who did not sup­port Wild in last year’s elec­tion, said he’s fine with Wild sup­port­ing an impeachmen­t in­quiry. But he wouldn’t be sup­port­ive of her vot­ing in fa­vor of ar­ti­cles of impeachmen­t be­cause he doesn’t be­lieve the pres­i­dent com­mit­ted a crime.

“Let’s do it quickly” and move on, Hall said of the probe. “It’s suck­ing up all of the air.”

APRIL GAMIZ/THE MORN­ING CALL

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild’s town hall meet­ing Wed­nes­day at Seegers Union at Muh­len­berg Col­lege was be­fore a packed house.

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