This week we broadcast the April 27th, Long Island Federation of Labor sponsored Congressional Town Hall meeting, with guest speaker Congressman Steve Israel (D-3). The Long Island Federation of Labor is an umbrella group of more than 250 Unions covering more than 250,000 Long Island Workers. The event was held at the spacious IBEW 25 Union Headquarters in Hauppauge. Over 900 union members from more than 30 unions attended. Israel represents the very diverse, middle class, Third Congressional District which extends from Queens to Smithtown along the North Shore of Long Island. Raised in a family in Levittown, Israel has been lauded as a champion for the middle class. He described his political philosophy as being “in the center,” and himself as “a consensus builder.” He advocates a strong national defense but is liberal on social policies, such as a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality. Rep. Israel, son of a military veteran, gave personal testimony as to how important government services such as the GI bill, federal student loans and affordable community college allowed Israel to grow up in a middle class household and to pursue an education that would propel him to one of the highest ranks of elected office. Israel is a staunch advocate for to our veterans and our active military, making frequent trips to war zones to meet with the troops. He argued the VA has been woefully inefficient called for a national commitment to repair the VA, so that it works for those who have served. The question and answer portion of the night evidenced that economic issues still weighed heavily on the minds of audience members. Congressman Israel fielded questions; questions arose about the squeezing of the postal service; immigration reform; national defense; Congressional Budget proposals, the potential implosion of the Highway Trust Fund and the proposed TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement). Here, Israel stood with his constituents stating he would not vote for fast track and would not vote for the TPP. He asked why, if it was as good as the Administration claimed, it isn’t it being shown to the public or to Congress.