Topics ranged from Russian trolling to his love for the Oakland Raiders when Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) spoke during a question-and-answer session with students from Daily High School Wednesday afternoon.
Schiff began with a 10-minute introduction and then opened the floor for questions at the event hosted at the First United Methodist Church of Glendale’s Carlson Fellowship Center. The meeting was announced as Schiff’s first visit to speak with Daily students.
Schiff’s 28th district includes Glendale, Montrose and La Crescenta, and the 58-year-old congressman received his share of inquiries, along with some cheers and even a few playful boos.
“I love the chance for our kids to engage civically, ask questions and learn about the entire voting process,” Glendale Unified Supt. Winfred B. Roberson Jr. said. “Hopefully, they will be encouraged to register to vote and get engaged as citizens and make a difference.”
Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke about the group’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 general election.
“You might not know it, but you’ve probably seen Russian handiwork on your phone, on your computer,” Schiff said. “The Russians have been involved for quite some time in a clandestine social-media campaign that is designed to divide some Americans from other Americans.”
Schiff added, “What the Russians do is they look for fault lines in American society and they try to exploit [them].”
There were rounds of applause at various times during the 45-minute question-and-answer session. The first came when Schiff said he would support a ban on separating undocumented immigrant families.
“I think it’s completely inconsistent with the values of this country,” Schiff said to a large ovation. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we protect dreamers. They’re our friends, they’re our neighbors and they’re contributing to our society and they’re Americans in every way except for a piece of paper.”
At the event, 11 students were preselected to ask questions.
Melody Kizirian asked Schiff about any potential measures Congress can take to promote bipartisanship.
“It was kind of nice that you could ask directly to someone who works with the big bosses, you know,” Kizirian said after the session. “Usually, when you have concerns, you’ll talk to your friends or family, so it was nice to talk to someone who does help people.”
Melanie Cuevas asked about a topic close to her heart. On Oct. 1, 2017, Cuevas remembers cutting her birthday celebration short when news of the Las Vegas shooting began to break.
“For me, it was easy to ask Congressman Schiff about gun control because of the shooting that happened on my birthday,” Cuevas said. “It’s always intrigued me what’s going to happen with the guns and gun laws, so I asked.”
Though most questions were serious, there was also time for levity, such as when Schiff admitted he is a Raiders fan to a smattering of boos and cheers.
“I appreciate the Raider hat,” Schiff said as he pointed to a student in the audience. “I am a part of Raider nation, and I think we’re going to be good this year, which it’s been a long time coming.”