SAUGUS — John Macauda came prepared to do battle.
Armed with notebooks and statistics, the Peabody resident sat up front in the Saugus High School auditorium Saturday as U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton held his most recent Town Hall.
The morning’s first question came from the 65-year-old supervisor who said while Moulton has talked about bringing the country together, the Salem Democrat recently said the president “is uniquely dangerous for our country.”
“I do not call that bringing the country together,” Macauda told Moulton. “Why do you continue to support DACA…these immigrants whose average age is 24 are eating up our welfare money. I cannot imagine a Congressman supporting people who are not U.S. citizens, yet you continue to do it.”
DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protects eligible immigrant youth who came to the U.S. when they were children.
In response, Moulton said his position in favor of DACA has the support of most Americans.
“It’s worth noting that eight out of 10 Americans support DACA,” Moulton said as the auditorium erupted in applause. “And it’s not just Democrats, a majority of Republicans want to see a solution for these kids that allows them to stay here. I support immigration reform because I want to support legal immigration and offer a pathway to this country legally.”
On the question about President Donald Trump being dangerous, Moulton said he’s just be honest.
“I served in a war under President George W.Bush, I didn’t vote for him twice or support his war effort,” he said. “But I always expected the president to act in the best interest of the U.S. I never imagined President Bush would work with one of our enemies, for example.”
More than 150 people came to hear Moulton and ask questions. It’s the latest Town Hall event the Congressman has held in the North Shore’s Sixth District.
Thomas Hargis of Newbury, who served in the U.S. Marines, asked Moulton about the recent report that Trump has directed the Pentagon to spend $30 million for a Veteran’s Day parade in November.
“We don’t need parades,” Hargis said.
Moulton agreed saying the money could be better spent.
“A parade is not an investment in our future,” he said.
Randy-Sue Abber of Saugus raised the question of whether the effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment would be revised.
The proposal that would have protected women’s rights passed the Senate in 1972, but failed to get the enough votes from the states for enactment.
Moulton told the story of his Aunt Sheila, a General Electric Co. employee who filed a lawsuit for equal pay. After nine years, she won, he said.
“We were sitting at the dinner table recounting the story and someone said ‘We’ve really come a long way…and without missing a beat, Aunt Sheila said ‘Not far enough.”
Perhaps the biggest applause was for 13-year-old Ashley Reardon, who asked Moulton if he would support a change to the Constitution to allow immigrants to become president.
“A child who comes to America under the age of one, should be eligible to run for president,” she said.
Moulton, who served four tours of duty in Iraq, said he fought alongside immigrants during the conflict, agreed.
“It seems reasonable to me that if someone puts their lives on the line for the United States, they’re qualified to be president… ” he said.