Sen. Tammy Duckworth addresses issues at town hall - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Sen. Tammy Duckworth addresses issues at town hall

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth hosted a town hall at SIU Carbondale Friday night, in partnership with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. 

About 350 people packed inside the SIU Student Center to ask the senator questions. Several topics were discussed, including immigration reform. The Democratic senator called upcoming deportation raids in cities across the country wrong.

"Most Americans would be surprised to know that we have legal, permanent residents who serve in uniform and who are willing to die and protect our constitution although they themselves have not become citizens," said Sen. Duckworth. "And we also have many service men and women who have family members who are undocumented."

She added, "With this recent push by President Trump by the Department of Homeland Security... they will start deporting the family members of deployed service members. So imagine that you're in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Niger, or anywhere around the world fighting terrorists and to find out that your spouse is going to be deported. You can't focus on your job and it's not the right thing to do."

Senator Duckworth also addressed helping veterans, including providing more access to health care. Many in attendance brought up concerns about losing health care, and the future of the Affordable Care Act.

"Health care is the main thing," said SIU student, Avian Wilkins. "A lot of students are worried about some of their benefits getting taken away."

"I think that we could save the Affordable Care Act, but it's going to take the American people," said Sen. Duckworth. "I'm doing everything that I can. But I don't think at this point, that anyone on the Republican side are listening to the democrats. I think that we can reach through to my colleagues through their constituents, through you."

Some constituents also wanted to know what the federal government was going to do to help southern Illinoisans dealing with flooding. Earlier Friday afternoon, Duckworth toured Southern Illinois Healthcare System’s Cancer Institute. There, she told News 3 more money needs to be invested into all of the infrastructure across Illinois.

"This flood, unfortunately is not going to be the last time this happens," said Sen. Duckworth. "I think this is going to be more common and we need to take a look at our levee system, a look at our lock and dams to see if they're going to be able to sustain and withstand these high water events and flooding events. And we certainly need to invest a lot more money."

Other issues the senator addressed included lowering the cost of prescription drugs and working across the isle in Washington.

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