By:  Kelsey McGee


REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., held a town hall at Ridgeview High School in Redmond Saturday, where people voiced concerns about a variety of issues, including veterans and student loans.

Merkley has held town halls in three Oregon counties this month — Klamath, Lake and Deschutes. This was his 32nd town hall this year, and he’s held over 500 town halls overall. 

“There’s a lot in transition in America and here in our state,” Merkley told the audience. “I’ve been hearing from folks across the state about issues from fentanyl to day care, cost of housing.”

At the town hall, people had an opportunity to voice their concerns on many issues. It was a chance for the senator to hear what’s on people’s minds. 

A student in the audience asked the senator: “What advice do you have for students who want to make a difference and have their voices heard in the political process?”

Merkley responded : “Well, first, I have a thank you to students who want to be involved. By the way, I do think we need to have a lot more civic education in our in our schools.”

Another audience member related the struggles a local Vet Center has had with maintaining adequate staffing.

“At the Vet Center — it’s for sexual abuse victims and for combat veterans,” the man said. “And 10 months ago, the director got promoted to lead 24 vet centers across the Western United States. She left, and they put a temporary person in her position, but they don’t have enough staff. And so, there are days that the Vet Center cannot be open.”

Tumalo resident Jeff Rola was on hand to hear the senator speak and answer questions.

“We see a disconnect in the communities around,” Rola said. “And his town halls are a way for communities to come together. And so that’s why I’m here, to show that support.”