left to right: Stephanie Nix, Debra Worth, Shelly Covert, Elaine Sierra, Kimberly D’Urso, Tracy Pepper, Georgette Aronow

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. March 3, 2017 – After meeting with a coalition of Nevada County leadership today, 1st Congressional District Representative Doug LaMalfa’s office committed to having the congressman host multiple town hall meetings in the district in April. Dates and venues have yet to be decided, but the first town hall will be held in Nevada County, LaMalfa’s representatives said.

Today’s meeting took place in LaMalfa’s Auburn district office. Attending were representatives from The League of Women Voters Western Nevada County (Tracy Pepper); Nevada City Rancheria Tribal Council (Shelly Covert); Nevada County Citizens for Choice (Kimberly D’Urso); Indivisible Women Nevada County (Stephanie Nix); Mobilize NC (Georgette Aronow); Nevada County Democratic Women’s Club (Debra Worth); Business and Professional Women, American Association of University Women, and the California Senior Leaders Alliance (Elaine Sierra, J.D.).  Attending on behalf of Congressman LaMalfa were Mark Spannagel, Chief of Staff; Lisa Mara, District 1 Representative; and Erin Marie Ryan, District 1 Representative.

Kimberly D’Urso, president of Nevada County Citizens for Choice, delivered a sampling of the written statements collected from the 9,628 online petition signatures requesting that LaMalfa hold a town hall in Nevada County.

Topics discussed in the meeting included:

1.  The importance of transparency in government at federal, state and local levels.

2.  Rights of citizens to access and engage with their elected officials.

3.  Environmental solutions that protect natural resources and avoid placing people in harm’s way.

4.  The federal restoration of the Nisenan Tribe and concerns regarding the proposed Centennial Dam and cultural sites that would be destroyed.

5.  Safeguarding the Affordable Care Act.

6.  Sustaining rural access to quality reproductive health care in Nevada County and preserving Title X funding.

7.  New paradigms for difficult discussions, the importance of engagement and active listening.

The meeting lasted three hours.  The conversation was respectful and frank.  All attendees had ample time to speak, and a positive tone was enjoyed by all in attendance.

Congressman LaMalfa’s office acknowledged our urgent town hall request and confirmed that he is looking forward to town halls in District 1 in April, with Nevada County being his first stop.

Agreement was reached that the Nevada County town hall event will be moderated by the League of Women Voters, with the venue to be arranged by Congressman LaMalfa’s office.  Tracy Pepper, board member of LWVWNC, asserted that the League, as a non-partisan organization, would moderate the town hall to ensure a civil and organized event offering a productive exchange of information and ideas. The ultimate goal is an event where citizens come to be informed, engaged, and feel heard by their representative.

Stephanie Nix, spokesperson for Indivisible Women Nevada County, presented an innovative and creative format proposal for the town hall. Nix said that IWNC would like to re-imagine the town hall status quo format, resulting in a national “Reframing of Rural America,” offering more constructive dialogue and a less-contentious town hall environment.