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Sen. Merkley town hall filled with hot-button issues

(SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Environmentalism, legislation and the border were among topics discussed at Senator Jeff Merkley's town hall at Lane Community College Monday.

"Less stress, more piece of mind, less complexity, health care for everyone. Lets do it," Merkley said.

A huge part of Monday's discussion was also healthcare, especially topical after last week's failed vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Merkley said more has to be done with the current system.

"Wouldn't it be great to have a seamless system? Just by virtue of being born in America you get quality healthcare here in the United States," Merkley said.

Merkley said his top priority locally is affordable housing, a concern shared by the crowd.

"Are there plans to address the discrepancy with wages and the cost of rent in Oregon?" asked a crowd member.

"What are the leaders of Oregon going to do for the future of the state and the workforce keeping Oregon functioning?" asked another.

Merkley said he's working at the federal level to address Oregon's affordable housing crisis and to raise the minimum wage.

"The principle is this: if you work full time in America, you shouldn't be in poverty in the United States of America," Merkley said.

The discussion about environmentalism came full circle in the town hall.

"This reinforces just how urgently we have to act," Merkley said.

The senator reminded the public that together, they can make a difference.

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The full schedule of Sen. Jeff Merkley's town halls are listed below:

Lane County, Monday, Aug. 7, 11:30 a.m., Lane Community College, Center for Meeting and Learning, 4000 E. 30th Ave., Eugene, OR, 97405

Benton County, Monday, Aug. 7, 2:30 p.m., Corvallis High School, 1400 NW Buchanan Ave., Corvallis, OR, 97330

Linn County, Monday, Aug. 7, 6 p.m., Linn-Benton Community College, Russell Tripp Performance Center, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW, Albany, OR, 97321

Lincoln County, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 11:30 a.m., Newport Recreation Center, 225 SE Avery St., Newport, OR, 97365

Polk County, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 3:30 p.m., Colonel James Nesmith Readiness Center, 12830 Westview Dr., Dallas, OR, 97338

Yamhill County, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 7 p.m., Newberg High School, 2400 Douglas Ave., Newberg, OR, 97132

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