Rouda Speaks on Local Issues in Newport Beach

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By Sara Hall | NB Indy

Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) is making the rounds at various meetings in Newport Beach this week, talking about his time in office so far, addressing local issues, and answering residents’ questions.

Rep. Harley Rouda speaks at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Wake Up Newport meeting in the Friends Room at the library on Thursday. Photo by Sara Hall

Rouda is set to speak to constituents in Laguna Beach next week at a meeting on homelessness issues hosted by City Councilman Peter Blake at the Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street, from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 12.

The freshman congressman spoke at two community meetings this week, first at the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club on Tuesday, Oct. 1, followed by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Wake Up Newport on Thursday, Oct. 3.

On Thursday, Rouda gave a brief speech, covering his reasons for running, what he’s been doing in Washington and touting a few accomplishments, before diving into the Q&A portion of the meeting.

Rep. Harley Rouda chats with residents outside the library on Thursday after the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Wake Up Newport meeting. Photo by Sara Hall

Resident Dennis Baker asked Rouda about water quality issues, specifically where federal waters are concerned, regarding offshore drilling and dredging.

Rouda pointed out that he sits on the House Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure and the sub-committees for Highways and Transit, and Water Resources and Environment.

“Two sub-committees with deep importance to the community here,” he said. “There are lots of opportunities that we are focused on those specific things.”

It’s a bipartisan issue, he noted. He jokingly added that he has “yet to meet a republican that wants to see another oil drilling rig off our coast, and for good reason.”

“I don’t think you’re going to see any offshore drilling in California anytime soon because the state of California will fight tooth and nail to prevent the Trump administration from being able to do that,” Rouda said.

They are working on bringing in funding for dredging, he confirmed.

He has stepped up in an effort to acquire federal funds for the project, Rouda noted at a previous town hall. They are working with the city of Newport Beach and the Army Corps of Engineers on the project.

“(Together, they are) trying to continue to make sure that we get funds for the dredging of Newport Beach,” Rouda concluded.

Toward the end of the forum, Newport Beach City Councilwoman Joy Brenner asked Rouda if there was any bipartisan support for a ban on assault weapons.

That type of support is probably “not there yet,” Rouda answered.

They did pass bipartisan legislation on national background checks, Rouda pointed out, something that about 90 percent of Americans support.

“That’s been sitting at the feet of Mitch McConnell,” Rouda commented.

That has to go through first, that’s where they have to start, he added.

“Red flag laws without a national background check are worthless, in my opinion,” Rouda said.

At a minimum, he’d hope to get bipartisan support for, at the very least, “a higher level of training and licensing and age” requirements, to “even be able to access assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.”

“It’s a step back from being able to get a ban on it,” Rouda said. “But, again, I’m not sure, with the strength of the gun lobby right now, (that we will see) politicians willing to take that on.”

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