Ben Dahan News Editor
Congresswoman Karen Bass, from California’s 37th district, touched on a range of topics during her forum with students last Friday. She answered questions from moderator Adriel Ghadoushi, the sophomore president of the Countable Club and the student responsible for bringing Bass to campus, as well as questions from audience members of the nearly filled theater.
“I’m not going to lie, it was pretty scary to interview an influential Congress Member such as Karen Bas. Yet, the more I began to talk to her and got to know her before the assembly I felt comfortable,” Ghadoushi said. “It began to feel like a normal conversation with a friend or teacher.”
The congresswoman, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed her concerns about the threats posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) and North Korea, and the domestic one posed by gun violence.
Bass expressed support for a single-payer health care system but said she would look to improve and reform Obamacare.
In addition, Bass commented on her concerns with President Donald Trump, whose election in November she believes “traumatized” the nation. Bass joked that she has served as a “political therapist,” soothing her constituents and friends who have been distressed by his actions.
Despite her reassurances, she expressed deep concerns regarding Trump’s “irresponsible” conduct as president and the “profound” conflicts of interests that he brought with him to the White House.
“I absolutely do not feel the Trump administration has been held accountable,” Bass said.
Bass recounted a story of an 8-year-old she met on a plane, who told her he wanted to be the president of the United States. Bass took it upon herself to aid the child in any way she could, which included introducing him to then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, then-first lady Michelle Obama and then-president Barack Obama.
Shortly before wrapping up the forum, Bass presented Julie Goler with the Congressional Recognition award for her summer reading award for her contributions to “The Hero Project,” which assigns meaningful, human stories, such as the Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and Escape from Camp 14, for summer reading.
“The program allows students to read stories they would normally have not heard about. I thought it was only right for her to be recognized for this achievement,” Ghadoushi, who helped arrange the award, said.
A message Bass emphasized throughout the forum was that she encouraged civic engagement among students, and that constituent interaction with her office matters. At one point, she even applauded a student brandishing a Make America Great Again shirt, an iconic phrase of President Trump, for making his voice heard.
“Please, stay involved,” Bass said. “Feel free to contact my office.”