Trahan holds virtual town hall, reassures constituents amid coronavirus crisis


Event hosted by Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce

By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Lori Trahan addresses constituents in a virtual town hall held through the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

Marlborough – Congresswoman Lori Trahan sought to reassure and update constituents on Washington’s response to the COVID-19 crisis at a virtual town hall April 14 hosted by the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Drawing roughly 50 attendees mainly from the local business community, the event saw Trahan dig into the trio of bills Congress passed in recent months, while also charting a path through the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Truth is so important,” she said in her opening remarks. “We’ve tried to be a resource in just getting information out to people.”

So far, Trahan has been central in drafting and approving these relief bills.

In addition to that, Trahan says she’s been working hard here in her home district helping individuals and local businesses access the aid those bills earmarked.

That’s involved getting SNAP benefits for some, helping others access health care, and translating guidance from groups like the Small Business Agency to help entrepreneurs.

Abroad, Trahan says her office has also played a part in the repatriation of close to 100 constituents stranded by global travel bans imposed in recent months.

“There is an extraordinary and understandable need to be in our districts and assist our constituents,” Trahan explained of her governing philosophy of late.

All that being said, Trahan says she’s also still fighting in Washington.

“It’s important that the American people see that their government is still operating,” she said.

States like Massachusetts, she noted, have been unable to access domestically produced personal protective equipment for first responders and medical professionals. Thus they’ve come to rely on moves like the recent high profile donation from New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft of life saving masks from China.

That’s something Trahan wants to change through a “Pandemic Production Act” she’s currently drafting as a bill to ramp up domestic medical supply manufacturing.

“We must not be at the mercy of others when it comes to the safety of Americans,” she explained.

Likewise, she says she’s also at work on additional aid packages now primarily aimed at aggressively shutting down COVID-19’s rampage without further hurting local economies.

“We’re not going to let our small businesses fail,” she said. “We’re going to keep everyone afloat during this time.”

Such bills, she hopes, will continue to ramp up testing capabilities across the country while working to fund paid leave options for individuals in quarantine.

“We need to reassure our public health and then work to kickstart our economy,” she said.

That latter, economic effort, she suggested, is one that could be multi-purposed here in her home district.

She floated the idea of a “huge infrastructure bill” that Congress could sign once the pandemic abates to put locals back to work. That, she hoped, could improve conditions of local roads and bridges andpotentially speed up a redesign of the oft-criticized I-95 interchange in Westborough.

Trahan is eying a lot in her future. One thing she explicitly redirected attention away from, though, is her upcoming reelection bid as her first term in Congress ends this November.

“There will be a time for me to campaign,” she said. “But, for now, the most important thing is that we band together and get through this together.”

That, indeed, is a unity she’s preaching. And it’s one she hoped could give strength to business owners and individuals alike, who, through their questions April 14, reflected the otherwise broad sense of anxiety in an uncertain time.

“As we proceed through this crisis, let’s endeavor to project confidence that by sticking together, we will win this fight,” she said. “…We need to hold fast to the knowledge that a better day is coming.”