Ashland, Ore. — Around 2,500 people attended Senator Ron Wyden’s Town Hall meeting at Ashland High School Thursday morning, where he answered questions about everything from Islamophobia to President Donald Trump.
“I think it’s very exciting to feel like I’m a part of something – like I’m part of something bigger, helping to speak up about things that don’t seem right right now,” Senator Wyden said.
Senator Wyden held a town hall meeting Thursday in Ashland High School’s gym. Thousands of people showed up, many hoping their voice would be heard. Senator Wyden pledged to have town hall meetings when he entered office, as a way to keep the door open for conversation about the issues.
“These are so important because the alternative is just to sit behind a desk in Washington DC and try to guess what people are thinking about,” Senator Wyden said.
Never wanting to guess – Senator Wyden’s upheld that pledge for years, going from county to county opening the door to have a dialogue – and Thursday’s turnout was bigger than ever.
“Never had crowds like this – a very substantial number of the people are there for the first time. They’ve never been to a meeting, they’ve never written a letter – they just said these issue are so important, I’m going to be involved now,” Senator Wyden said.
Diane Paulson was one of those first-timers.
“Felt good to be with all these people who are very excited about doing something – feeling like we all have a say in making a difference,” Paulson said.
Included in that group, were high school students, waiting for answers from Senator Wyden about how he’s handling the treatment of LGBT students, and even those awaiting an explanation of the LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Pipeline.
“Jackson County should feel really good about those high school students. They showed that they’re really ready to carry the mantle of leadership,” Senator Wyden said.
Though they might not be taking that next step to leadership anytime soon, some are just glad they got to know their current leadership a little better.
“He has a lot of passion himself, he is a very independent and strong Oregonian, and he’s standing up for rights. He really is compassionate about the rights and liberties of all,” Paulson said.
© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.