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Congressman Charlie Dent Conducts Open Forum at LVC
11.18.13 |
Congressman Charlie Dent, whose role in the budget standoff in Washington, D.C. was recently highlighted in a front-page New York Times story, visited Lebanon Valley College earlier this month to conduct an open forum with LVC students and staff. View photos from Dent's visit by clicking here.

Dent, a moderate Republican representing the 15th district of Pennsylvania, entertained students’ questions, with topics ranging from the budget, taxes and banking to energy and LGBT rights.

In order to make moves, Dent emphasized the importance of collaboration and said members of the House need to bite down on some issues on which they might have previously been unwavering.

Traditionally more socially liberal than some of his far-right counterparts, Dent said that he supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), though House Speaker John Boehner and many fellow party members oppose it. The bill would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to the existing protections against discrimination based on race, color, sex, nationality religion, age or disability.

Dent also supported the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), a standpoint for which he said he got “very little pushback.”

Energy sustainability and self-reliance was also a point of discussion, and Dent expressed the need for the U.S. to develop a diverse energy portfolio and was specifically optimistic about the viability of natural gas. Regarding potential environmental impacts of future energy initiatives, he said a policy of best practice should be implemented to punish those who contaminate resources.

Finally, acknowledging one student’s question, Dent noted that he is hopeful recent economic and budget struggles will help inspire collaboration on many issues.

“With bipartisanship, the credit and the blame is shared, but there is the opportunity to get some big things accomplished,” he said. As a starting point, he encouraged the president to “seriously engage in a fiscal reform.”

“I want all of you in this room to have a Medicare program comparable to what your grandparents have,” he told students.

Though optimistic about the possibility of collaboration leading to changes, he added, “We have to walk before we run.”

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