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Congresswoman Berkley Holds Public Meeting Amid Tighter Security | Crime

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Congresswoman Berkley Holds Public Meeting Amid Tighter Security

LAS VEGAS -- The Tucson shooting created questions about how safe public Congressional meetings are. Las Vegas Congresswoman Shelley Berkley held her own public event Friday morning with people looking for help. This time there was extra security.

Nevada's delegation regularly sets aside time to meet with constituents and hear their problems. Those meetings continue despite the Tucson shooting. But now, there is an extra level of security even Congresswoman Berkley felt challenged getting used to.

"When I saw the officers outside, and there are a number of them, I thanked them of course for being here, but I also said, 'I hope this isn't the future. This should not be the way we have to do business in this country,'" she said.

Dozens of people came to Congress on the Corner at Berkley's Las Vegas office. Berkley says she renamed it to honor injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who called her events by the same name.

Some who came said that while they grieve for the shooting victims, there was something else they felt.

"I also grieved for the process, because it's so important to access democracy," said Carrie Matt. "So many people feel disenfranchised from their government, they don't think their government cares. This doesn't happen in a vacuum. You have to be active in your government. You have to take ownership and get out there."

Congresswoman Berkley heard from Las Vegans on a wide range of subjects. One senior said she was running out of money because there has been no Social Security cost of living increase these past years. Others brought forward concerns, opposition and support about the Health Care Reform Act. And one woman, injured on the job, wanted help on Cobra insurance forms as her medical leave pay was running out.

Congresswoman Berkley said her first order of business once returning to Washington includes defending the Health Care Reform Act. She also said in light of the alleged mental imbalances of the Tucson shooter, more funding should be directed to mental health programs.