Victor Valley residents wanting to hear more about the proposed federal healthcare plan currently winding its way through Congress will have their chance to hear about it straight from their congressman.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R, CA-41) will be the featured speaker at a healthcare reform town hall meeting held on Wednesday, August 26, at Victor Valley College.

"Town hall meetings are being held all over the country, and our congressman is rather close and he has spoken, I believe, at [University of] Redlands" about healthcare reform, said Robert Sewell, Victor Valley College's director of auxiliary services and student government advisor. VVC students are encouraged to engage with elected officials, he said. "We have members of the community who would also be interested in his views on healthcare reform."

A former insurance salesman, Lewis participated in a town hall meeting discussing healthcare reform at the University of Redlands on August 13. Prior to the meeting, a fake e-mail was sent out, allegedly from Lewis' office, characterized the meeting as a Republican-only meeting for constituents who feel that the healthcare system is fine as-is, that "Obamacare" would kill senior citizens and suggested that Lewis believed that President Barack Obama does not believe he was born in the United States.

Lewis' office denounced the e-mail, and spokesman Jim Specht called the e-mailing "despicable." Specht also said Lewis believes Obama was born in the United States, and considers the issue settled long ago.

An Orange County political blog, TheLiberalOC.com, traced information in the e-mail's header file back to CampaignSecrets.com, an Atlanta-based GOP political consultancy firm. Lewis' office could not be reached Tuesday or Wednesday for comment.

Despite the e-mail, though, the Redlands town hall was largely without incident, in contrast to sometimes noisy and contentious healthcare town halls around the nation in recent weeks, although Lewis verbally clashed with a local Democratic activist early on.

"We would hope that it would be as civil as it can," said Sewell. "One of our faculty members will be the moderator. We will have questions submitted prior to and during" the 90-minute meeting.

Questions will be solicited from students over the next week, and Victor Valley residents can submit questions to their local chamber of commerce as well.

For more information, or to submit a question, call the Adelanto Chamber of Commerce at 246-5711, the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce at 242-2753, the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce at 244-2135 or the Victorville Chamber of Commerce at 245-6506.

The healthcare town hall meeting will be held in Victor Valley College's performing arts center at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26. Free public parking will be available in Lot 16.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.