Editor’s Note: The Ithaca Voice will be posting video, photos and additional coverage throughout the day. If the wifi connectivity continues to be sufficient, we will be going live from the town hall at 8:30 a.m. on our Facebook page here. A high quality video of the town hall will be posted within the next 24-hours.
TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. — The concerns of dozens of people who showed up at the Tom Reed town hall in Trumansburg Saturday morning are the same ones that have been brought up throughout the region: healthcare, climate change, the next election.
The youngest person at the T-burg fire hall by decades (as of 7:45 a.m.), Georgia Mechalke, 15, said that although she is too young to vote, she is concerned for her future.
“Politicians like Tom Reed, and all politicians in office right now, are deciding my future,” she said.
She said healthcare and the ability for her and her peers to receive comprehensive coverage — for cancer screenings, healthy sexual education and contraception — are important, as is funding for Planned Parenthood. The health care facility offers a sliding-scale payment method for clients based on income and offers many services at a free or reduced rates.
A bright pink button in support of the organization was pinned to her chest as she said, “Women are the future, quite literally.”
This is not the first town hall she has attended to hear Reed speak. Earlier this year, she went to his town hall in Ovid, and she looks forward to being able to vote in a few years.
“Youth, we’re really smart,” Mechalke said. “These politicians are going down.”
David Nutter, a 40-year Tompkins County resident, sat two rows ahead of Mechalke.
He arrived at the fire hall wearing a neon yellow rain coat and riding a bike with his long, gray beard flowing in the wind.
Nutter said his concerns about climate change are what brought him to hear Tom Reed speak.
“We’ve got climate change going on,” he said. “We need to reverse that.”
He said the solution isn’t to slow down or even stop climate change — people have to proactively work to reverse the negative effects of the human-caused release of methane and carbon dioxide into the environment.
He said President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement this week, and Reed’s close affiliation and endorsement of Trump, is beyond “stupid” or “greedy.”
Related: Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement
“It’s suicidal, and I’m not drinking that Kool-Aid,” Nutter said.
Rising sea levels, increased global temperatures, extreme flooding in some places and extreme drought in other places, he said, are a global threat.
At the town hall Saturday morning, he doesn’t necessarily have questions for Reed, who represents a majority conservative area.
“I think he needs to know that there are informed people who see what’s going on,” Nutter said.