Questions for Rep. Barbara Comstock from Indivisible Town Hall

Questions posed at the citizen-led town hall held Friday, Feb. 24 at the Sterling Community Center, as prepared by volunteers at the event.

National Security/Russia

Sue Riley, Ashburn: Russia was involved in the election. How are you going to make sure this issue is investigated independently – beyond what is being done by the FBI and the National Security (Council)? And by the way, I am on Social Security.

John Schroeder, Gainesville: Your staff on the phone has told me that you support the current investigative actions into Russian meddling, but the Congressional actions don’t seem too strong in their actions. What are you going to do about that? What do you plan to do regarding the possible ties between Trump & Russia during the election, especially given Flynn’s conversations with Russian operatives. I don’t understand how that became a partisan issue. Half the reason Hamilton created the electoral college was to prevent a President from falling under a foreign power.

Name not captured, Gainesville: I’ve just recently become a citizen. We don’t have any kind of window into what the Trump organization’s ties are – he hasn’t disclosed any information. Why didn’t anybody look into that? Because it is going to be a matter of national security. There are other Muslim-majority countries that were not included in the Muslim immigration ban – and he has business interests in those countries. Is this being checked by real National Security people? What are you doing about this?

Emily Quinn, Sterling: We know that the ex-National Security Advisor, Flynn, had conversations with Russia, and we know that Attorney General Sessions was an active member of Trump’s campaign, though he now refuses to recuse himself from the investigations. We know Reince Priebus spoke with the FBI about dampening down the stories and refuting stories about Russian collusion. I’m wondering what is your red line. What are you afraid they’ll find if they hold a 9/11-style investigation? Your colleague, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, had no problem spending money to investigate Benghazi. Maybe you could speak with him about the need to investigate Russian collusion with equal vigor.


Conflicts of Interest

Johanna McBain, Sterling: I am concerned about the Russian spy ship off the coasts of CT and VA. is anything going to be done about that? I understand paying for the travel of the President, but why are taxpayers paying for his son to go to Uruguay?

Jenny Couch, Leesburg: I am not a protestor, and I’d be happy to release my tax returns. We know that all Presidential administrations have tussled with the press, to one degree or another. But the amount of aggression against the press from Trump’s administration’s closest example would be Nixon. One story broke last night regarding Reince Priebus directly asking the FBI to supress investigation stories. Spicer prohibited at least 3 news agencies from attending his recent press conference. What are you going to do to ensure the fundamental democratic freedom of all the press and not just Trump’s favored news agencies?

Steve Duggan, Ashburn: I come as a veteran of military intelligence. It’s very important to me. In my opinion, the business of government has become indistinguishable from Trump’s organization. We need to see his taxes. We have his spokesman (Kellyanne Conway) promoting his daughter’s brand. It was reported that at a Mar-a-Lago event, he held three events promoting private business. and his son is currently traveling overseas doing the same thing. The Secret Service has been reportedly checking in Mar-a-Lago guests (which should be a Mar-a-Lago staff job). How will you build firewalls between government and business? How will you lead government to ensure that the Trump brand isn’t given preference over all other businesses?

Jessica Marshall, South Riding: Did Melania work here (in the modeling industry) fraudulently while she was on a visa to visit the U.S.?



Brenda Jameson: I am a retired educator, and I believe public education is under attack. I’m concerned by the Betsy deVos confirmation to head the Department of Education. What will you do, and what can you guarantee to (us) that we educators will still be a part of the nation’s education?

Kathy Stewart, Sterling: When are you going to start legislating for us. Your votes H. J. Res. 57 and H. J. Res. 58, along with your votes on Education bills prior to Trump are shocking to me, and I didn’t know about them.

Lisa Stevens, Manassas City: Should there be any federal oversight of any private/charter schools that receive taxpayer funds? How can you insure that the first amendment won’t be impinged by private charter schools accepting taxpayer funds?

Nicole: With respect to the recent NYT article about the dismal results of charter schools, why do you support this? I work at a university in VA-10. With Falwell supporting DeVos, and the current backtracking on transgendered student bathroom rights, and the lessening of Title 9 support: What is the impact going to look like in higher education and what are you going to do to support higher education? Any immigration policies of Trump have direct impact on international studies in terms of making our students competitive in the market place. We need you to support these students, rather than isolate them.



Charlotte McConnell, Sterling Park: I have a son in Kindergarten with an IEP and I’m worried that it might go away. I’m worried about gun free schools becoming a thing of the past. We need every politician to stand up and send a message of support to the LGBT community. We have asked that the Loudon County School Board to add LGBT rights to their policy, but they haven’t done that. The possibility of having guns in schools keeps me up at night.

Amanda Tandy, Leesburg: Do you feel that you are adequately representing us in VA-10 with your votes on the environment? Do you think we don’t care about clean air and drinking water?

Christy: You voted to allow denning (hunting of predators & cubs in their dens, including hibernating bears) and hunting from aircraft – what justification could you possibly have for that? What, if anything are you going to do for the endangered species that rely on the Act to keep them safe?

Elaine Dashner, Great Falls: On your recent tele-Town Hall, someone asked how the GOP plans to pay for the ACA replacement? One of your answers was that you’re going to cure diabetes and cancer. My husband works for NIH. I wonder about your support of the sciences that are needed to accomplish that.

Molly Simenow, Sterling: I’m looking at your anti-environment voting record. How can you justify voting over and over against the enviroment? I wonder if you’re getting money from Big Oil and Big Coal.

Christine, Ashburn: Are you getting money from lobbyists? How can you look into the eyes of the next generation and tell them that you voted anti-environment in order to get lobbyist money?

Dianne Goely: I was part of a group that met with you today. One of my fellow visitors asked about the environment. You said you didn’t support eliminating the EPA, but that you felt there’s some middle ground between saving the enviroment, and supporting business.

Jane, Chantilly: If you are a middle-of-the-ground person, then why do you vote 100% for big oil, big coal and big industry, and for taking away our national parks?

Information not given: There is a way to support both the environment and business, and it’s called Renewable Energy. You should be funding job retraining programs for coal workers for this purpose.



Matthew Zellman, Centreville: This is my first time at a political event. Honestly I barely knew who you were before this last election. I’m here for the people who are too scared to come (and for whom it’s too dangerous to come). Centerville is diverse. My son’s friend has undocumented parents. They came here legally but were unable to maintain that status because the system is broken. My family is really close to them. They pay taxes, attend church, work hard; they’re about as American as anyone I’ve ever met. Do you consider those people to be criminals just by being virtue of being victims of our broken system? Do you support using our tax money to detain and deport and imprison them, and bog down our justice system? Or do you think they deserve a path to citizenship?

Tom Williams, Sterling: This is my first political event. I’m an immigrant, because I’m an American. My wife is a naturalized citizen. We’ve seen the travel ban against innocent immigrants, which means we’ve missed the target on counter-terrorism. We know undocumented immigrants commit less crime on average, then the general population, so we’re missing the mark there, as well. There’s language in the new immigration rule being developed that they can deport immigrants based on the suspicion of crime or suspicion of an impending crime. Why have you failed to act with Congress as a body on this, when you indicated a couple years ago that legislation could fix this issue? Trump is initiating a blitzkrieg and Congress has failed to act.


Affordable Care Act

Kona Gallagher, Ashburn: February 15th was childhood cancer awareness day. On social media, you invoked Gabrielle Miller, a child who died of cancer a few years ago. I have two friends who have kids under the age of 6, with cancer – in this district. I got a form letter from you with a lot of words about the ACA, but it didn’t say much. How are you going to insure that, with the ACA repeal/replacement, that these children are going to receive the care they need to survive and have a normal childhood, and to grow up? I used to work for Department of Economic Development of Loudon County. You would show up for the opening of an envelope, so the fact that you don’t show up here is incredibly insulting to me and to all of us.

Johanna McBain, Sterling: I have Type 1 diabetes, and I’m on insulin. If I didn’t have this, I’d be dead. Before the ACA, changing jobs was not possible for me, because pre-existing conditions would bar me from obtaining new insurance plans. This was like being an indentured servant. It seems the GOP should be behind people not being so dependent on avoiding the pre-existing clause, because it would encourage more people to branch out and start small businesses. The people who are being taken for deportation, where are they being kept and do they have access to health care?

Charlotte McConnell (again), Sterling Park: What are you going to do to make sure that Planned Parenthood stays funded? 2,000 women go there for breast cancer screening. 500 women will die from breast cancer. My medications cost me $6,000 per month, pre-insurance. How can you reassure me?

Lindsey Davis Stover: I’m fearful for all the children in this district. Since the ACA was enacted, 55 million women have had access to free family planning. What are you doing to support this effort within the ACA repeal action?

Jeanine Nelson, Herndon: I’m sick to my stomach listening to all these concerns that we have. My husband has leukemia. Prior to the ACA I was frantic about his pre-existing condition and $8,000 per month pre-insurance medication costs. How much will ACA repeal cost, and how do you justify it, when the GOP has done nothing to improve the ACA?



Mike Turner, retired Air Force col.: I ran in 2008 for your seat in VA-10 and I’m going to run again. I have 28 years in the Air Force to protect this country. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that the POTUS would be the chief enemy against this (holds up pocket-sized copy of the Constitution). An emolument is a fee for service. The constitutional article for this is one sentence “no title of nobility, etc” Every time a foreign delegation stays at a Trump Hotel, Trump is violating the Emolument Clause. When the impeachment comes, and it’s coming (Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Mitch McConnell will want VP Mike Pence to replace Trump), will you vote with your consituents – the people who pay your salary – or not? I would NEVER duck a Town Hall event. How dare you? You work for us.

Jessica Gordon: How many guns do you or anyone else need? You just repealed a Rule (323?) which limits how many guns a person can purchase. I believe in responsible gun ownership, but how many should people be allowed to purchase? I think we have enough to deal with already.

Ryan, Sterling: I’m LGBT and I ask you, if you were still a delegate, would you have voted for the bill in the VA State House from a few weeks ago to discriminate against gays? Do you think gerrymandering is good? Hillary won this district by a large margin, and you only won against LuAnn Bennett by 6 points.

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