AMESBURY — Gun control and House leadership were among the topics tackled by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, who stopped by City Hall to speak to constituents Monday night.
An overflow crowd, many of whom were not from Moulton’s district, greeted the congressman and plenty of people voiced concerns about Moulton’s opposition to electing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as speaker again.
A Georgetown resident asked Moulton why he is not supporting Pelosi and urged him not to divide the party.
“In this last election, we elected an extraordinary group of new leaders,” Moulton said. “More women than ever before, more veterans than in recent memory, more LGBT candidates, more people of color. The American people cried out for change in this election. Everywhere I went, the American people said, ‘We want change. What is going on in Washington isn’t working and we need a new generation of leadership.’
“I think, if our party answers that call for change that we have heard across the country by reinstalling the same status quo leadership team that we have had in place since 2006, then we are failing the American people.”
Moulton went on to tell the crowd the majority of Democrats want to change the House leadership but he was met with a round of loud boos.
“I think we need a leadership change across the board,” Moulton said. “I think the whole leadership team should step aside and allow people with the new ideas, the people who understand what leadership is all about, the people who understand the challenges of the automated economy who say, ‘I want to take it into the future.’”
U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, who may challenge Pelosi for leadership of the House, is “someone who can take this country forward,” Moulton said.
“This is someone that people will look to and say, ‘That is the future of our party and that is the future of our country,’” Moulton said. “That is exactly the kind of leader that I want to step up. I want a leader who is going to bring our party together.”
One person in attendance reminded Moulton and the audience that President Donald Trump, a Republican, has also endorsed Pelosi’s run for speaker. Moulton thanked the man for his observation.
An emotional Amesbury High School student said she goes to school “every day and fear that today might be the day” when a mass shooting could break out.
“I had to use guns in Iraq, guns saved my life numerous times,” Moulton said. “But I have seen what guns can do, I have seen what assault rifles can do. That gun violence has no place in our streets, in our schools. If we can’t have the courage to come together as Americans and at least recognize that, that is not the leadership we owe to our kids. That is not the leadership we owe to you.”
Moulton went on to tell the 17-year-old he wanted her to feel she has a voice in Washington.
“I am very proud to be the co-sponsor of, at last check, the two gun violence prevention bills that have the most bipartisan co-sponsors,” Moulton said. “That matters because we have got to get people on both sides of the aisle to agree to this, or else they will just undo it when they are back in power.”
District 1 City Councilor Pam Gilday asked Moulton how he will help the district with combined sewage overflows into the Merrimack River.
“We are going to do whatever we can in our office to address these challenges and get federal funding dollars,” Moulton said. “We have a good record so far, even in a Republican Congress, to get a lot of federal dollars to the region. But a lot of these dollars are coming to address problems that are fundamentally related to climate change. That is a piece of what is going on here.”
Climate change is “really hitting home,” Moulton added.
“There were a lot of candidates in this last election who ran on platforms of addressing climate change,” Moulton said. “There were number of candidates who actually have degrees in science, which is a novelty in Congress. We need those new leaders, we need those ideas and we’ve got to give a voice to this problem.”
The father of a 35-day-old girl, Moulton went on to say he is strengthened everyday on his position to effect new leadership in Congress.
“That has really hit home for me in the last few weeks,” Moulton said. “We need people who are going to tackle these new challenges.”