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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