Oregon constituents brought their concerns, including their worries over Iran, to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden Sunday afternoon during a town hall meeting in Tigard.
The Tigard High School auditorium was filled with several hundred community members who talked through local issues with Wyden, ranging from health care to tariffs on imported French wine. But many in the crowd were most anxious about rising tensions with Iran after the U.S. assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
“It has been a very dangerous 24 hours for Americans and American troops,” Wyden said.
Wyden spoke of a Polk County woman who attended a previous town hall and said she fears for her son serving in the military in Kuwait. Wyden said that as a sitting member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, he will seek answers behind the president’s actions.
“This mom is scared about how reckless decisions overseas could harm her son, who is slated to be back with loved ones,” Wyden said. “I consider it a top priority to get that mom and get Oregonians answers.”
Wyden reminded the crowd of his voting record and how he condemned the war in Iraq in 2002.
“The echoes of how we’ve gotten into some of these conflicts just gets stronger and stronger. The president declared he’s targeting Persian cultural sites,” Wyden said. “That would be an abomination. That would, in effect, put us on the level of the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
Wyden said he and other senators plan to force a vote on the U.S. Senate floor to try to prevent war using the War Powers Act, a law that checks the president’s power to start armed conflicts without the consent of Congress.
“The Iranians have a history of being unpredictable. Donald Trump has a history of being unpredictable too,” Wyden said. “ ... The law allows me and the Congress to do something about Donald Trump’s unpredictability.”
Wyden’s comments on deescalating tensions with Iran were met with loud applause.
Wyden also spoke at length about the impending Senate trial for Trump’s impeachment, stating he aims for a just trial, not a political one.
Wyden’s town hall at Tigard High School was one in a series of eight he held around the state over the weekend. Wyden pledges to hold at least one town hall each year in each of Oregon’s 36 counties.