House Republicans, even those in safely Republican districts, are facing angry constituents at town hall meetings who are upset with President Trump and the party’s policies on health care, the environment, immigration, Syria, and the arts.
Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.) — who is a lead author of the stalled GOP bill to replace Obamacare — faced a tough crowd in his hometown of Hood River, although he won all 20 of his district’s counties just this past November.
Even those such as Connie Burton, 63, whose children played with Walden’s, 60, when they were little, stood and demanded the lawmaker answer for his party.
“Connie, I tried to answer you,” implored Walden over loud boos from the crowd, when he tried to answer regarding Trump’s voiding of rules that blocked harmful emissions.
Another woman stated, “We are absolutely disgusted that you led a committee to take away” peoples’ health care, to which Walden replied, “I care about health care. I know you don’t think that.”
In another town hall that Walden held in the more Republican-leaning Prineville, Ore., the interruptions were fewer but, even there, a man yelled that Walden should “quit dancing around down there” and demand results in Congress.
In an interview, Walden reacted with a calm head. “People are fired up, and I know that and I respect that.” He explained that as the sole Republican in Oregon’s congressional delegation, “I am the place they can come and vent.”
Walden represents a Democratic-run state that has mostly embraced Obamacare and has adopted its expansion of Medicaid. Walden’s district covers over two-thirds of Oregon and is larger than 23 states. It is poorer than most of Oregon’s coastal region so 240,000 of its residents receive Medicaid, and in six of its 20 counties, more than 3 in 10 residents are beneficiaries.
As one of the authors of the GOP bill to replace Obamacare, he faces a lot of scrutinies back home. Other GOP lawmakers are facing similar backlash across the country as concerns over policy continue to divide Republicans while stimulating Democratic voters.
Watch portions of the meeting below:
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