Politically-charges Town Hall

Meagan DeGraaf–Staff Writer

 

J.D. Scholten, a native Iowan and Christian running for 4th district representative seat, held his first Town Hall meeting last Tuesday on Dordt College’s campus. Scholten is a Democrat from Sioux City who believes strongly in change and renewal for immigration issues.

The meeting took place in the Ribbens Academic Center, in lecture hall 1144—but it was far from a lecture. Scholten’s goal was to continue discussion about immigration and DACA in a town with a growing immigrant population.

“Economically and morally, passing comprehensive immigration reform needs to be a priority,” Scholten said, noting his history in law, which helped shape his dedication to protecting rights.

DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was enacted in 2012 to help children of immigrants attain the same rights as native-born American citizens. This program was rescinded this year by President Trump in an attempt to tighten restrictions for entering the country and thus improve the safety of the United States.

This action led to public outcry from all parts of the country, as well as political parties. Some praised Trump for his desire to make a more secure country. Others shared stories of children saved from lives of poverty through opportunities like DACA. Now, without the program, children brought to the United States on their parents’ accord face the same consequences.

“They are here… we told them that we would protect them,” said Scholten of the children affected by the recent DACA rescission. “We must fulfill our promise to these young people.”

Scholten’s commitment to “Iowa values” extends to those not born in the state or the country. On his campaign website, he shared a quote from Ronald Reagan: “…if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

He spoke the same message of open doors at the town hall meeting, after a similar discussion at Town Square Coffee in Orange City just days earlier.

While President Trump has remained firm in his decision, government leaders around the country are calling on congress to pass a bill against the president’s judgment. And Scholten hopes to work toward that if elected to congress.

While the Republican Party seems more prevalent on Dordt’s Christian campus, tides have shifted in recent years, if only slightly. Just a couple years ago, a new Dordt College Democrats club joined the ranks amongst the previously created and popularly attended Republicans club.

Many students, now in their first years of voting, are beginning to see the good and bad in both parties, and want to hear multiple points of view before deciding their own beliefs. And in a small, mainly-Republican town in the corner of Iowa, that can be difficult.

The political science department at Dordt has taken a special interest in ensuring students—and other members of the Sioux County community—have the chance to be educated on the important issues in America from many perspectives.

 

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