Nebraska primary election, May 15 (copy)

Rep. Don Bacon during a 2018 town hall. 

First-term Rep. Don Bacon got a warm reception at a Monday town hall in Valley. It was his 10th such gathering.

Republican Bacon is facing what is expected to be a hotly contested election against Democratic challenger Kara Eastman, a nonprofit executive.

In previous town halls farther east in the 2nd District, Bacon has faced opposition from constituents whose views are to the left of his.

But on Monday at the Valley Veterans Club, Bacon received applause from many constituents who appeared to share his views — he heard a lot about fiscal responsibility and nothing about Medicare for all.

Bacon heard about two issues that he promised to look into.

One is the STRESS Act, which would bolster mental health services for farmers, with the intent of lowering the suicide rate.

The other was a question about why the Health and Human Services Department can’t negotiate prescription drug prices.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I don’t know why we have a law on that. ... I’ll have to look into it.”

One questioner wanted to know who Bacon supports for speaker of the House.

Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, is retiring. So if Republicans retain control of the House they will need to choose a new speaker. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California is running for the seat, as is Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

Bacon said he thinks someone else could also jump in. He said he likes both candidates, but he’s concerned about Jordan’s ability to lead the entire body and obtain compromise from all the factions of the House Republicans.

“You’ve got to be willing to not take 95 percent home, you’ve got to be willing to take 80 percent home,” Bacon said.

But he added that he would give them both a fair chance.

Multiple questions touched on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Bacon said he wants to preserve those programs but said he’s concerned that they are on a path to insolvency. He said raising the age threshold for Medicare and Social Security should be considered.

Also in attendance was a Boy Scout troop.

Twelve-year-old Blaine Quy asked Bacon: “What are your thoughts on the current gun violence in schools?”

“That’s a good question,” Bacon said. “It’s terrible.”

Bacon said he has voted for funding to improve safety measures in schools. And he said he co-sponsored a bill that would allow people to ask courts to order that a family member’s firearm be temporarily taken away if that person poses a danger.

When asked afterward what he thought of Bacon’s answer, Quy said: “I really liked it. I agree.”

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Reporter - Politics

Roseann covers politics for The World-Herald. Before she came to The World-Herald in 2011, she covered politics for the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader. Follow her on Twitter @roseannmoring. Phone: 402-444-1084.

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