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Hollingsworth visits IU, discusses national emergency, health care policy



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U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-9th District, speaks Feb. 18 in Alumni Hall during the Federal Focus Luncheon. The luncheon was an opportunity for community members to engage with Hollingsworth and ask questions about policies and concerning issues. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-9th District, visited IU on Monday to discuss issues such as the national emergency and access to health care.

Hollingsworth answered questions from audience members, many of whom were local business leaders, at the Indiana Memorial Union as part of the Federal Focus luncheon, organized by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. About 100 people attended, some dressed in suits and ties.

Wearing jeans and a checkered polo, Hollingsworth showed up about half an hour after the event started. He continually emphasized how important it is for government officials, including President Trump, to represent their communities instead of pursuing their own agendas.

The Chamber sponsors a federal focus meeting every year to allow local leaders to interact with their community and hear its concerns. In previous years, the Chamber has invited those such as Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind. and former Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

“It’s an opportunity for individuals to hear directly from their representatives and hear an update from someone who is actually there in the legislature,” said Anne Bono, vice president of the Chamber. “Whether you voted for him or not, he’s representing you.”

U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-9th District, speaks Feb. 18 in Alumni Hall. Hollingsworth gave a speech before answering questions during the Federal Focus Luncheon. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

Hollingsworth first talked about the national emergency.

He said the government should not continue to delegate more and more power to the executive branch. He said Trump's issuing of the national emergency to pursue his goal of building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was an attempted simple solution to a complicated issue.

“It’s really easy to hope for quick solutions,” he said. “But democracies weren’t built for easy, quick solutions. It’s messy, it’s difficult, it’s frustrating.”

However, Hollingsworth still supports the motivation behind the national emergency. He said the government owes it to its citizens to stop illegal immigration and to reform immigration policies.

“I am a big believer that we have a crisis at the border,” he said.

Those trying to enter the country who are experiencing violence and sexual assault need to be protected and offered better chances at legal immigration, he said. At the same time, U.S. citizens are suffering from illegal immigration, he claimed, for reasons like illegal substances being brought across the border. 

Moving forward, Hollingsworth said citizens should have more say in how the Department of Defense budget is used, whether they support the wall or not.

“I don’t think it should be decided just by the president,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-9th District, speaks Feb. 18 in Alumni Hall. Hollingsworth gave a speech before answering questions during the Federal Focus Luncheon. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

Hollingsworth said he believes health care is the most pressing problem for Americans. Many are paying overpriced premiums and deductibles, he said, and many do not have access to care at all. He said he wants to provide access to health care for all Americans.

“Both parties demand their ordered solution and only their ordered solution,” he said. “We have to push back against that.”

Hollingsworth said Americans need to stay informed about these issues by seeking information from multiple news platforms and taking time to process the information instead of looking for simple answers.

“Immigration, health care, even economic policy, these are big, complicated issues,” he said. “If they were easy issues, if they were one solution, all we need is a silver bullet, we would’ve done that long ago.”

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