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Congressman Doug LaMalfa speaks to a group of Graeagle residents March 27 while having lunch at Graeagle Restaurant. He was doing a tour of his district during the House of Representatives’ break from Washington, D.C., and spent time with his constituents all over District 1. Photo by Carolyn Carter
Last week Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa showed District 1 voters that no town was too small and no setting too informal to meet his constituents when he had lunch with a handful of community members in Graeagle.
A native of Oroville, LaMalfa spent all last week touring his Northern California district, meeting with the public and discussing issues in Washington, D.C. On Wednesday he covered Plumas County in a whirlwind of meet and greets and whistle stops extending from Chester to Graeagle.
In the wake of heavy criticism for a tea party meeting he attended in Redding, LaMalfa was very cordial and comfortable as he spoke to residents while eating one of Graeagle Restaurant’s famous burgers.
According to a report last week in the Redding Record Searchlight, the Redding Tea Party invited members of the media to attend a meeting March 25, but then ordered a media blackout during the question-and-answer portion of the meeting.
LaMalfa was criticized for adhering to the blackout and not standing up to the tea party members in the name of the First Amendment.
However, LaMalfa showed no caution to the media in attendance while in Graeagle.
For the first portion of the lunch he conversed freely with the individuals present about simple things such as the county, and the success of Feather River College.
Then he addressed the group about what he as an elected official is striving to do in the House of Representatives. He spoke on the state of the budget and Medicare. He also addressed gun legislation and compared the House of Representatives, trying to stand between issues at the Capitol, with the “300 of Thermopylae,” a group of Spartans who held off the Persian army in 480 B.C.
“As we stand up for things we’re trying to do, like balancing the budget and making government more accountable, we get a lot of criticism,” LaMalfa said. “That’s fine, we’re good Spartans, but it is tough going.”
The lunch then filtered into a question-and-answer portion where the attendees asked about the post office closing on Saturdays, regulations on schools and how to get more effective marketing strategies for the Republican Party.
When asked about the tea party meeting in Redding, LaMalfa said he did not know until 10 minutes before the meeting that they would close the question-and-answer portion to the media. He also said it was the sixth time he attended a Redding Tea Party meeting, and it is “interesting” every time.
“I couldn’t have imagined it would be such a big deal for people,” said LaMalfa. “It was their meeting, I was their guest, and I respect the rules of my host.”
LaMalfa also expressed his appreciation for media representatives, saying he is always very open with them and believes he really needs to communicate with them. But, since he was asked to come to the meeting, he said he didn’t feel it was appropriate to tell Redding Tea Party how to run it.
He ended his tour of Plumas County by continuing on to Sierra Valley.
“We always enjoy it here,” he said. “I’m thrilled to have Plumas as a constituency, and I plan to be spending as much time as possible in this area.”
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