U.S. Rep. Jason Crow town hall in Centennial draws a full house 

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

CD6 U.S. Rep. Jason Crow

Two-term U.S. Rep. Jason Crow held a town hall meeting on August 22 at Koelbel Library in Centennial. He opened the discussion by sharing that he believes that the current Congress “is one of the most legislatively effective in generations.” He listed significant laws that have been passed since November 2020, including the brand-new Inflation Reduction Act and the PACT Act, a bipartisan law (it passed the U.S. Senate 86-11) signed by President Biden on August 10 to provide health care and benefits for millions of veterans injured by exposure to toxins while serving in the military, Crow said, “I cannot overstate how important this is for my fellow veterans…We are keeping faith with the sacrifices of our fellow veterans.” 

He also pointed to the CHIPS and Science Act, signed by the President on August 9, which Crow said “will bring home the manufacturing of microprocessors to the United States, which is good for our national security…bring over 100,000 jobs and spur innovation in science for the 21st Century and make us competitive with China and others.” 

Crow also reminded listeners about the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed last fall to rebuild the country’s roads, bridges and rails and ensure access to high-speed internet for all Americans, among its many objectives. 

Crow noted the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, signed into law on June 25, which he described as being the first law in three decades to address the problem of gun violence in America. 

The Congressman touched on the three committees he serves on in the U.S. Congress, which he said “are a reflection of (his) priorities in Congress and the things that are important to this community.”  He described them as three of the most bipartisan committees in the Congress.

Crow shared that “three dozen bills passed out of the Small Business Committee (SBC) last year,” on which he sits, “with 100% support.”  As part of his responsibilities on SBC, Crow chairs the subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development.

Crow also serves on the Armed Services Committee, which he noted is important to him because he has dedicated his life to “preserving the national security of our country.” He started his military career as a private in the U.S. Army and finished as a captain, having served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He also noted that there are over 70,000 veterans in Congressional District Six that he represents, as well as “one of the largest aviation and aerospace industries in the nation, employing tens of thousands.” Crow went on, “We have over 250 businesses and companies of all sizes, from United Launch Alliance in Centennial to the small mom and pop shops that all support our national security.” Crow noted that he is working hard to keep Space Command in Colorado because it is good for our state.

The other committee on which Crow sits is the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Pointing to the seriousness with which he takes his commitment to working together with all members of the House of Representatives, Crow told the crowd that he was ranked 11th out of 435 Members of the House on the Bipartisan Index. He noted that 70% of all bills that he introduces have a Republican co-sponsor, which he said accounts for his high level of effectiveness in getting bills passed.

Pointing to the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed by President Biden on August 16, Crow said it would reduce the deficit by an estimated $300 billion, it would not raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year, and that it would “make our largest, most profitable corporations pay their fair share” by requiring the approximately 150 companies with profits of one billion dollars or more to pay a minimum income tax of 15 percent. The IRA will also limit out-of-pocket prescription costs for Medicare recipients to $2,000 per year, beginning in 2025. Other financial changes to the cost of drugs begin to go into effect next year, beginning with requiring drug companies to pay rebates if drug prices rise faster than inflation and limiting copays for insulin to $35/month for Medicare Part D, plus reducing costs and improving coverage for adult vaccines in Medicare Part D, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The IRA will also save an estimated 13 million Americans $2,000 annually on the cost of their health insurance.

Crow also said that the IRA will create many new jobs in the clean energy sector by funding programs to seriously address climate change.

A member of the audience asked Crow if he supported term limits for Members of Congress. Crow said he did not because the same goals can be accomplished by broad-based campaign reform, ending the revolving door that lets former Members of Congress become lobbyists, ending gerrymandering, and importantly, ending the unlimited massive spending by corporations, wealthy donors, and special interest groups permitted by the Citizens United case, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 on a 5-4 vote. He expressed a concern that term limits could have the impact of Members of Congress having less institutional knowledge, leading to outsized influence by lobbyists.

Crow also said he promotes transparency by listing on his website all visitors to his office and refusing to take corporate PAC money.

On the subject of student loan forgiveness, Crow said he would target certain professions that lack sufficient employees. He shared that he has a bill that would repay up to $35,000 per year of student loans for teachers and public health workers who commit to and work in those fields for at least three years because they both lack people. 

When someone asked about the status of a federal ban on assault weapons, Crow said that it had been passed by the House twice, but it died in the U.S. Senate due to the filibuster rules that require 60 votes. He continued, “We know the assault weapons ban works because when it was on the books between 1994 and 2004, mass shootings using assault weapons went down by over 30%, then they went back up again.” 

Crow explained further, “I’ve had a lifelong relationship with firearms…I was handed my first gun when I was 12. I grew up hunting pretty much every (type of animal that can be hunted). Then I became an Army Ranger and I used weapons of war at war and I had them used against me. I know what that looks like. For those people who say the type of guns doesn’t matter, you’d be hard-pressed to find a member of Congress who knows more about guns than I do… When I went hunting in Wisconsin when I was growing up, I did not take an AR-15 deer-hunting. When I went to Iraq and Afghanistan, I did not take my 30 odd 6 deer rifle with me, because the weapon matters. They are designed to do very, very different things and they’re both very good at what they are designed to do. Weapons of war designed for the Department of Defense do not belong on our streets.”

A senior citizen asked Crow if he supports raising the $500,000 limit on profits exempt from the capital gains tax when a couple sells their primary residence, since real estate prices have risen so drastically in recent years and many seniors have been in their homes for decades. Crow said yes, he would support it “because that cap has not kept pace with the cost of real estate, especially in Colorado.”

Crow closed the town hall with, “The problems of our country are complicated. Governing is hard. Legislating is hard…You’ll always know where I stand, even if you don’t agree with me on everything, and I’ll treat you with respect because that’s what we all deserve of each other. We need to lower the temperature in the room. I disagree with some of my colleagues sometimes but most of them are good people trying to find the right answer. We need to be collaborative and build a better society, a better country. Let’s do this together.”

Among those in the full house for Crow’s town hall event were Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown, State Rep. Meg Froelich, State Rep. Tom Sullivan, and Centennial City Council Members Tammy Maurer, Christine Sweetland and Mike Sutherland.

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