U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. held the first town hall of his first term in office, just a year after being sworn in, at the auditorium of the James Lee Center on Annandale Road Monday night, and held forth while a wide array of issues were presented to him by constituents ranging from funding for Alzheimer’s research to the solvency of Social Security, extending the earned income tax credit to benefit low income seniors, to guns, to guaranteeing living wages (as opposed to minimum wages), to human trafficking, to immigration, to the undue influence of money in politics, to the issue of Syrian refugees, to women’s pay, to the strangling influence of $1.1 trillion in student loans.
Beyer said it was his first face-to-face town hall, although he did one by phone that drew 19,000 people. He expressed pleasure holding the historic first town hall in Falls Church because “Falls Church is the formal center of the universe,” he quipped, noting that his family car business started here just 42 years ago and its patriarch, his father Don Sr., just celebrated his 92nd birthday.
He cited the three “big picture” goals of his first term in the U.S. Congress are to guide the economic transformation of Northern Virginia at a time when federal government spending has been pulling back, the economic empowerment of women, and to advance the government response to climate change.
Three bills he’s passed in his first year include one to extend government science prizes beyond NASA to include other scientifically-based agencies, to expand research into dyslexia,and to achieve a goal of his predecessor Jim Moran to revert the regulation of predatory vehicle towing from the federal government back to localities, like Falls Church, which was attached to the five-year highway bill last month.