AURORA | It has only been 29 days since Aurora Congressman Jason Crow has officially been in office, “but what a 29 days it has been,” the Democrat said jokingly to attendees of his premier town hall meeting Thursday.
There was a partial government shut down for nearly half of that time. Crow also introduced his first bill, which focuses on campaign finance reform.
The congressman called the town hall a “listening session.” He took questions about topics ranging from the recent partial government shut down, to student loan debt, to net neutrality.
He said he plans to have at least one session per quarter for the next two years.
Crow re-affirmed his objection to President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal, which ultimately left nearly 800,000 federal employees without paychecks during the government’s longest shut down ever, as he and Democrats were unable to come to an agreement on a budget.
The government has been temporarily re-opened. Lawmakers are expected to address the budget again in mid-February.
One speaker, who said he was a furloughed federal employee, delivered what he said was a proposal to make sure workers get paid. Crow vowed to read it, and the man received a standing ovation from the crowd.
When asked by reporters after the town hall whether Crow would compromise at all on funding for a border wall, the congressman said he doesn’t support any money being used for a wall, but said earlier in the night he does support strong and secure borders, if it’s done in an “intelligent” way.
Crow told the crowd of more than 100 people that bipartisanship is still achievable in the body, highlighting that even a package of criminal justice reforms was able to pass Congress and earn a signature from the president in December, before he and other freshmen lawmakers were sworn into office.
The lawmaker also touted his first bill, which was introduced this week, the “End Dark Money Act.” It’s part of H.R. 1, the first package of legislation from House Democrats. It’s unlikely Senate Republicans will even take up the package, but Crow told the Sentinel earlier in the week he intends to take his bill as far as he can. It allows the Internal Revenue Service to establish policies for social welfare organizations that are funneling big sums of money into campaigning.
“This bill strikes at the root of the problem by giving the IRS the tools it needs to prevent mega-donors from using non-profits as vehicles for political contributions,” Crow said in a statement Wednesday. “By increasing transparency and accountability in our elections, we are returning power back to voters and restoring Americans’ faith in our democracy.”
Crow told the town hall that dark money and political corruption is at the center of every issue he intends to address while in Congress.
“Climate change, immigration reform, healthcare, we’re not addressing those because of the money in our political system,” he said. “…We have to clean up the system and get back to that more perfect democracy that I know we can be.”