Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) encouraged students on Thursday to pursue work they care about during a visit he made to Luther Burbank Middle School, where he also answered some tough questions from sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
Schiff opened his talk by describing what he loves most about his job, which includes working at his local office, serving people in his district who need help navigating various challenges — such as adopting a child — tackling the immigration system and connecting veterans with services.
He described his work in facilitating help for his constituents as “immediately impactful.”
Then he urged the students to “work on anything you care about” and asked them to focus on life’s journey, not the destination.
“One of the really fun things is figuring it out along the way,” he said.
When one student asked about the congressman’s greatest challenge in office, Schiff said it’s the country’s ill-functioning, gridlocked government.
“I’m a big believer in something Bill Clinton once said,” Schiff said. “He said, ‘There’s nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed by what’s right in America.’ I think that’s really true. We have the most talented people. We have the most incredible natural resources. We have the most entrepreneurial spirit in this country. But we are hampered at the moment by a government that’s not working very well.”
Another student told Schiff that 10% of his family’s income will soon go toward healthcare premiums, far more than what they paid before Obamacare, when his family purchased private health insurance.
Schiff pointed out that the Affordable Care Act has brought positive change for millions of people, but cited room for improvement.
Before Obamacare, he said, “about 20 million people who didn’t have any healthcare were suddenly able to get healthcare. Every year, people’s health insurance rates were going up quite dramatically. This problem didn’t start with Obamacare. It won’t end with Obamacare.”
However, any fix to Obamacare is now hampered by political gridlock, he said.
“There’s the view of most of the Democrats in Congress who want to fix and improve Obamacare, and there’s Republicans who want to repeal it completely. And until we can decide, ‘OK, it’s not going away, we need to improve it’ … it’s going to be hard to make those improvements,” Schiff said.
Kelly Corrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org