LYNN — U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) spoke about his efforts to fundamentally change Congress, and how he feels it is important to elect new leadership within the Democratic party at a Town Hall meeting Wednesday night at North Shore Community College.
Moulton fielded questions from his constituents on a variety of topics which included addressing the opioid crisis, bringing the Blue Line to Lynn, and ensuring Social Security is available for future generations.
Moulton, up for reelection this fall, said he wouldn’t characterize himself as a Democratic insider, but rather someone who has been railing against his party and saying there should be changes made within the Democratic party.
At one point, he addressed a question from one of his constituents about the Democratic National Committee (DNC) efforts to change the superdelegate process for the next presidential election.
Moulton said he believes there is a big problem with superdelegates, but he’s not someone who has been inside the DNC trying to change it. There are people working on this issue inside the DNC trying to come up with a better proposal, but acknowledged that it’s not a big issue of his.
“It’s not something I’ve been working on because I think we just fundamentally need more people who are willing to stand up against the party,” Moulton said. “One of the things you’ll see me doing is supporting candidates who are not supported by the party, because I just think they’re good leaders, and so sometimes that means the DNC doesn’t always invite me into their internal discussions.”
Moulton said he’s been working on fundamentally trying to change Congress because “at the end of the day, I don’t think we’re going to break this logjam in Washington if we don’t get new people elected to Congress.”
He spoke about the importance of bipartisanship and working across the aisle to get bills passed. He said it’s important to get leaders in Congress who are willing to work together to get things done.
Moulton wanted to explore term limits for the Congress, and look at four-year terms versus the current two-year terms for the House of Representatives to avoid the constant campaigning.
Moulton said there needs to be new leadership in the party because it’s not just enough to complain about the other side. His job as a Democrat, he said, is not just to complain about President Donald Trump or the Republicans, but to talk about what the Democrats are going to do instead.
For instance, Moulton said Democrats should be talking about how they’re going to improve the economy.
“Trump wants to send you back to the coal mines,” Moulton said. “Let’s talk about how we can embrace the new economy and succeed in it.
“We have a reckless commander-in-chief in my opinion, but we have a lot of work to do to strengthen our alliances around the globe, to stand up to our enemies like Russia, to recognize that we do actually have a trade problem with China, but getting into a trade war is not a way to fix that so what’s our vision.”
A Lynn resident asked if he would see the Blue Line come to Lynn.
Moulton replied there’s nothing that can be done to improve the economy in Massachusetts more than investing in transportation.
“If you could take the commuter rail from Hamilton and switch at Lynn Central Station to go the airport and the Blue Line, then you wouldn’t have to drive, and that would make a big difference in people’s lives. So, this is the kind of investment that we need and I will continue fighting for it. I can’t tell you when it will get done but I can sure as hell tell you that I want to get it done soon.”
Moulton said the opioid crisis affects every community in the sixth congressional district that he represents. He said it’s necessary to crack down on the providers of opioids and stand up to big pharmaceutical companies that allow massive amounts of opioids to go into communities and fuel the addiction.
But with marijuana, which has been legalized in Massachusetts, he said people should be realistic that it’s not going to go away, and the effort should instead be on making sure regulations are in place so it’s used more safely.
Moulton also spoke about how he thinks the cap should be removed on Social Security, so people with a lot of money are paying more into Social Security than the middle class. Legislators have to make sure Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are also there for future generations.
He said there needs to be more diversity in Congress and better leaders to counter the divisiveness in the country.
“We’re all Americans and we have to do what’s best for the country, and we have to elect leaders who have the courage to put people before politics, to stand up to the parties in Washington and to do what’s right for the people,” Moulton said. “That’s the kind of country we need.”