Pensions. Health care. Tax reform. Immigration. All of these issues affect us. Not just 'you' us, but ALL of us. Each individual has a story about how each one of these issues affects their lives. There isn't any sweeping legislation that is a one size fits all solution, and I think going forward, legislators and the public need to remember that when we're considering what we're asking for.
The town hall was hosted at Spring Branch Middle School Auditorium and it was filled to capacity. Seven hundred constituents flooded the town hall with questions to be asked and confrontations to be had with the Congressman. The majority of the attendees were Democrats and there was a theme running through them all. I'd love to tell you it was sweetness and light, but alas, that was not the case.
From the moment that they booed the opening prayer, and left out 'Under God' in the pledge, the mood had been decided. It was clear to me that the folks that were in attendance were out to control the entire town hall. They were there to intimidate and to shout down and make their noise. And that, they did.
I've got to say, I didn't blame the constituents for their frustrations, although they could have been much more civil about it. I and others have felt similar frustrations with Congressman Culberson over the years. The only difference between myself and the Democrats is that going into any conversation or meeting, THEY would KNOW that they're going to disagree with the Congressman and that he's not going to represent their interests very well.
I think that the Congressman could have handled the crowd a bit better than he did. Each time someone rose to ask a question, he often responded with "That's a very thoughtful and important question." On the surface that might sound good, but it came across as very condescending. The constituents recognized it and often followed those words with 'boos' and began chanting, "do your job'. It was embarrassing.
I went there as an observer. Full disclosure, I have been a long time skeptic and critic of the Congressman, but I went there really wanting to hear what he'd have to say. There was one few thing he really stood strong for, like being against a single payer healthcare system which I was glad of. Others, like something that he kept repeating, "Keep politics out of science and art.", that I wasn't so sure of. Sounded good for the crowd he was in front of, I guess.
Another constituent was there, Mary Jane Smith, precinct chair and long time GOP activist, and this is what she had to say about the way the Congressman handled himself; "
He was misinformed on several points. I was disappointed, although not
surprised, when he said to the opposition that he was going to vote for
same ole funding for National Institute of Health, (NIH), increased funding for education, public
broadcasting, and was against Trump's decrease funding of the Dept of
Republican constituency that lives in Congressional District 7 didn't
show up for this town hall. Hell, they didn't show up for the general
election! CD-7 went for Hillary! I have news for them and for whomever is reading this, the Republican leaders, activists and voters had better not get comfortable over the next four years. The
opposition is alive and well in even the most conceivably conservative
areas in Harris county. The GOP still has to make OUR voices heard in the legislative process and the election process! The
squeaky wheel gets the grease!