Lackey meeting

LOCAL VISIT — State Assemblyman Tom Lackey (right), R-Palmdale, addresses the crowd Thursday night during a community chat at Legacy Commons for Active Seniors in Palmdale. Joining Lackey at the event was state Sen. Scott Wilk (left), R-Santa Clarita.

PALMDALE­— It was standing-room-only Thursday night at Leg­acy Commons for Active Seniors as Assemblyman Tom Lackey was host to a community chat with special guest state Sen. Scott Wilk.

Lackey, R-Palmdale, said the purpose of the meeting, organized similarly to that of a town hall, was two-fold: to inform the community of hot issues and hear from the public about different areas they as representatives could better advocate for its people.

“We’re interested in engaging,” Lackey said prior to speaking at the meeting. “We believe being ac­cess­ible is an important part of gov­ernment.”

The meeting allowed patrons to in­teract with the Senate and As­sem­bly at the same time, some­thing Lackey said is rare to find.

Before the meeting began, Lack­ey went around and shook the hands of each guest that filled the room, introducing himself and thanking them for coming out.

The room was filled with well over 100 people, a larger turnout than was expected. There was also free pizza and cookies provided for all to enjoy.

Since being elected, Lackey has conducted close to 15 similar events, each in different areas through­out the district he rep­re­sents, which is made up of close to half a million people. About twice a year, the community chat or otherwise named com­mu­nity coffee takes place in Palm­dale.

“I’m just going to sit back and enjoy,” Palmdale res­i­dent Janette Terrell said. It was her first time at­tending an event like this.

“I have my concerns, but they were able to point me in the right direction of who I should speak to about them,” she said.

Quartz Hill resident Jules, who did not give his name, had a list of ques­tions prepared to ask the rep­resentatives, which in­cluded the purpose of mo­tor­cycle lane splitting, tob­acco laws and opening adult adoptee records.

“This is better than going to their office,” he said.

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance, then Lackey opened up with some words of thanks.

Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, kept his introduction short by saying, “Let’s get to the ques­tions.”

A line formed in front of the two representatives and one by one the ques­tions were fired off.

The first woman to speak presented ill-will toward Lackey in Wilk in which Lackey coolly responded, “Ma’am this isn’t a debate, we are already your elected officials. Now what can we do to help.”

She sat down frustrated that they were unable to see eye to eye as the aud­i­ence clapped upon her departure.

More questions rattled off that covered the topics of veteran disability, men­tal health, the dis­a­bled com­munity and rec­re­a­tion­al marijuana.

“I’m an advocate for the legal market,” Lackey said when discussing cannabis, a topic he claims to know much about.

There was some playful banter between Wilk and Lackey in which Wilk said, “Not that he knows from personal use.”

Other points of con­ver­sa­tion included prisons and probation transformations, helping the youth and the need for more jobs in Palmdale.

One curious citizen, Mat­thew Wheeler, asked for their stance on Senate Bill 24, relating to the av­ail­ability of abortion by med­ication techniques at on-campus student health centers at public post­sec­ondary educational in­sti­tu­tions in the state. Wilk said he opposed the bill since it is essentially an abor­tion pill they are so­lic­iting. Wilk provided an example of case study to back-up his position. Wheel­er then said their words about standing with women don’t line up.

“I stand with women,” Lackey said on the matter.

A gentleman from Lit­tle­rock brought up the chem­ical trails left in the sky by jet planes that form clouds of toxins.

The controversial topic brought agreement from the crowd as Lackey said they were aware of the issue and are working on it.

Another item that came up was homelessness, spec­if­ically with veterans with PTSD. Retirement and education were also ad­dressed.  

“Personal time invest­ment means something,” Lackey said. “Thank you all for your attendance and concerns.”

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