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Rep. Cindy Axne Holds First Town Hall Meeting in West Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Freshman U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne held her first town hall meeting Saturday at Valley High School in West Des Moines.

“We had a great crowd here. We had a lot of questions and people asking about multiple issues, and so I feel really good about having the opportunity to talk about what is going on in Washington,” said Axne.

Topics ranged from civility in politics to gun control to immigration reform.

“We need to keep our country safe, but we also need to do so in a way that is humane and is dignified for the people that are fleeing difficult situations,” Axne said.

She also got a "thank you" from two mothers who have been working with the congresswoman on a bipartisan healthcare bill. The bill would compel insurance companies to cover ectodermal dysplasia, a condition which causes teeth, sweat glands and mucous membranes to develop abnormally.

“It is estimated that her out-of-pocket healthcare costs that is not covered by medical insurance will range between $80,000 and $150,000. This is more than our annual family income,” said Jen Steele, when talking about her daughter.

Despite the condition preventing their children from eating normally, insurance designates the condition as cosmetic. The bill, sponsored by Axne and co-sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Joni Ernst, would change that.

“We just want to tell her thank you for the support and how much it means for us, to know that she stands behind us and she is helping to push our bill forward, not just signing her name on the dotted line,” said mother Sarah Ward.

Looking back on her first town hall, Axne says she has taken a couple of things away from the experience.

“I learned a lot of people have a heck of a lot of questions, so maybe give a little more time for that and maybe less of a speech, so that's one logistical takeaway. I think secondly, of course, is to really do what I'm doing, which is make sure everyone understands I'm working for all of them,” Axne said.

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