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Politics & Government

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio Discusses Importance of Fall Election, Fire Fighting Efforts


U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio is back in Oregon for the government’s July 4 recess. In an interview with KLCC, the Springfield democrat spoke on fire concerns in Oregon and his expectations for Congress' future in Washington.

DeFazio remains confident that mobilization around the country will help democrats take back the House of Representatives.

“It's going to be a tough fight," DeFazio said. "It's going to be district by district around the country, and I think we have a good chance. I've seen in my district alone an unprecedented amount of activism.”

Another concern of DeFazio's was the Supreme Court pick by President Donald Trump, who announced his Supreme Court pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy Monday night.

While the Senate still has to approve the nominee, U.S. Representative Peter Defazio emphasizes congress’s role in ensuring conservative court opinions are checked by law.

“So congress can fix some of the things the Supreme Court is doing, by clarifying the law," DeFazio explained. "So it becomes even more important, given the fact that he will probably succeed in getting one of those from that list  of forty on the court. I'm not giving up, I don't get a vote. But we’ve got to keep up unrelenting pressure.”

DeFazio has been critical of the flurry of Supreme Court decisions made last month. He remains hopeful that democrats can take back the House in the November mid-terms.

Concerning Oregon news, officials are anticipating Oregon’s fire season this year will be worse than the last. U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio was briefed by the forest service this week while in the state for his July 4 recess.

DeFazio says that fire danger is one of his chief concerns. He explains low moisture and rising temperatures are altering the forest ecosystems around Oregon.

“Fires are not natural at this intensity. this is not a natural condition, and these fires, many of them burn at intensities where you're sterilizing the ground. They do need to be fought, we do need to work longer term to improve forest health.”

DeFazio pushed for western wildfires to be treated as natural disasters and funded accordingly. Starting next year a revised funding systemwill help fire fighting efforts, which he says is an improvement.

All in all, DeFazio says that the upcoming election will be important for democrats. 

"I'm just really focused on next November. I really do believe it's absolutely critical for the future of our representative democracy that we at least get the House of Representatives back, if not the House of Reprsentatives and the United States Senate. And if we don't, I fear for what we've taken for granted for so many years."

DeFazio will return to Congress Julty 10, ahead of the 2018 election. He will race against Republican Art Robinson this November for the fifth time.