Sparking growth: Congresswoman Elaine Luria hears from people she serves

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Congresswoman Elaine Luria was back in Hampton Roads this week, bringing updates about what's happening in Washington.

On Monday, she held her first in-district town hall meeting in Virginia Beach.

People wrote down a list of questions, and she answered them from the federal level but said she understands the problems are far-reaching. She also brought in local and state representatives to offer their perspectives.

Rep. Luria holds town hall meeting in Virginia Beach

Those in attendance included Virginia Beach Chief of Police Jim Cervera, Councilman Aaron Rouse, Mayor Bobby Dyer and Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation CEO Addie Wright Thomason.

The main topics discussed included voting rights, school safety, affordable housing, and police-community relations.

Related: Rep. Luria helping lead bipartisan legislation on improving military housing 

Representative Luria said during her time in Congress, and even while campaigning, she found these topics to be important to people in the 2nd Congressional District.

“Our doors are always open; our phones are always on to help all constituents [and] interfacing with any federal agencies. We wanted to bring them in to know we’re all part of the same process," Luria said.

One person in the audience asked, "What are you doing to help ensure voting access to historically disenfranchised communities?"

Luria said so far, the House has passed a bill (H.R.1) that aims to expand access to the polls and increases election transparency. That needs to pass the Senate before becoming law, but she said it's a step in the right direction.

Others in the audience talked about building stronger community relations.

“We can group together with the police [and talk with them to] make us feel comfortable with them. You know, being able to report stuff when things are happening," Barbara Billups from Virginia Beach said.

Luria also invited the Department of Veterans Affairs, the IRS and immigration services to be on hand.

“This way people can ask questions to the broader audience and be engaged. This is the first of many, and we just look forward to having these conversations frequently in the community," Luria said.

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