BROCKWAY — Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson says he represents 24 percent of the landmass of Pennsylvania, and he talked to students in part of that landmass last Monday at Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School. While the topics were wide-ranging, the new congressional districts were a big topic.
Thompson fielded a question from senior Brendan Allison about his feelings on the Commonwealth Court’s new districts.
“Do I think the court overstepped its bounds?” Thompson asked. “You betcha!”
Thompson explained that the legislature has the ability to draw districts, but the court stepped in and did it instead. The court believes that the legislature and Governor Tom Wolf would not work together to draw a fair map.
Thompson added that his new district splits some counties, which was a complaint about the old map, but he looks forward to representing many of the same people — like those in Brockway — as well as his new constituents.
“The ink is dry,” he said of the map.
With the recent March for our Lives in Washington DC, students at Brockway immediately asked what he thought about the marches and gun control.
“I understand the intensity of the emotion,” Thompson said about the marchers. “I met with the students from Florida. My heart goes out to them. I have seen terrible things, but I can’t imagine seeing that in my own school as a youth.”
Brockway senior Alayna Dowdall asked the question at first, while other students asked for specifics. Thompson does not agree with arming teachers, he pointed to some practical steps he has taken in Congress. He has voted for the new spending bill, including a legislation that “fully funded” the national background check system. He said that there is a lot of blame to go around for the Parkland Shooting. He included the FBI, the background check system, the school, the sheriff’s office, and the entertainment industry.
Thompson said that movies are protected under the First Amendment, saying he does not want to take away those rights. He then used that as a transition to discuss how the Second Amendment protects American’s gun rights. His solution for the danger in schools was adding more law enforcement to schools.
“Schools are communities,” he said. “We have law enforcement in our communities. We need uniformed law enforcement in our schools to be a commander during that situation and use the network he or she has for support.”
As Thompson’s time came to a close, he stuck around to talk to students who had more questions.
“It’s incredibly important for students to meet the people who represent them, not only in Washington but also Harrisburg,” Rachel Chamberlain, the Brockway teacher who coordinated the meeting, said. “They will be eligible voters, and I want them to know who they are casting their ballots for.”