SPOKANE, Wash --- Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers held a town hall meeting at Gonzaga Thursday and talked about healthcare, the president and North Korea.
There was a mixed crowd at the town hall meeting. Some people supported her and others were against her, but the meeting did not seem to get out of control even with some of the more vocal citizens.
Rep. McMorris Rodgers took more than 20 questions in the 90-minute town hall meeting. Most of the questions centered around healthcare, with people wanting to know why she supported repeal and replace and more.
She opened the town hall by talking about how we need to come together to empower one another. She said Eastern Washington residents need to have a commitment to civility, especially because of the divisiveness the country has been facing the past few months.
“We may not always agree, but we don’t need to be disagreeable,” she said.
At more than one point, audience members yelled at the representative. One man repeatedly shouted expletives at McMorris Rodgers before leaving on his own free will.
“It is easy to put labels in people and dismiss them, whether it’s on the right or the left,” said McMorris Rodgers.
McMorris Rodgers said there are parts of Obamacare that she can support, like keeping kids on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 and making it illegal for people to be denied health care due to pre-existing conditions.
Throughout the town hall, she stressed the need for transparency between the federal government and local government in all facets.
McMorris Rodgers also faced questions about President Donald Trump. One woman asked if McMorris Rodgers thinks he is mentally unstable. The representative replied that he was elected President of the United States.
When asked why she supports the president, Rep. McMorris Rogers said,"He is a disruptor and we need to change the status quo in Washington D.C."
Rep. McMorris Rodgers also said she believes we should rethink the federal government “from top to bottom.”
One question asked her position on the president’s tweets regarding North Korea. She said she is pleased to see the president taking the North Korea threat seriously. She also mentioned how the United Nations Security Council had never had a unanimous decision before, but they reached one for the North Korea sanctions. McMorris Rodgers thinks the president should keep using Twitter. She said he has found a way to talk directly to the people, and it is a changing world so he had to figure out a new way to communicate.
Two people left after @cathymcmorris said she supports President Trump. One man stood up & started yelling & swearing.— Lindsay Nadrich (@KREMLindsay) August 11, 2017
People were given red and green papers as they walked in to hold up during the event. Green means they agree, red means they disagree. pic.twitter.com/QGK3QRn1wz— Lindsay Nadrich (@KREMLindsay) August 11, 2017
In regard to immigration, McMorris Rodgers thinks we need to fix what is a broken immigration system. She said we need to evaluate how America helps, whether we want to be a place for refugees to come or if we are just a country that helps overseas.
The budget was also a big topic of discussion for the people gathered at Gonzaga. McMorris Rodgers called for complete budget reform, she said we need Congress to review the spending within the federal government. She told the people gathered there, the house just passed a bill that will conduct a full audit of the Department of Defense.
McMorris Rodgers ended the town hall meeting by saying she appreciates the opportunity to hear what the people have to say. She is looking forward to working with her constituents and gain an understanding of other people’s positions.
About 50 people showed up to protest McMorris Rodgers at the town hall but were not allowed on campus. Previously, protesters have taken to the streets about Rep. McMorris Rodgers, standing outside the congresswoman’s downtown Spokane office and around town. They are often holding signs that read “Where’s Cathy?” and “ Missing!” with an image of her likeness.
McMorris Rodgers held a phone town hall earlier this year that gave constituents the incorrect number to call in, and only lasted for about 20 minutes after people finally could hear the meeting.
In an interview Thursday ahead of the town hall, McMorris Rodgers said she is always looking for opportunities to listen to constituents.
“I regularly hold tele-town halls, coffees with Cathy, Conversations with Cathy, listening to people, hearing their concerns,” she said. “I’ve long held the major town hall in Spokane in August and that’s what we’re doing today.”
“It’s pretty fundamental that I’m listening to people and hearing their concerns and I make it a priority to do that,” she said.