Two friends and I attended Congressman David Rouzer’s Town Hall Meeting in Bolivia on Monday, March 6. Since it was held at 2 p.m. in an overwhelmingly Republican area, I wasn’t expecting many people to show up and Mr. Rouzer probably didn’t either. We were both wrong. This was the first time I had attended a Town Hall, and it was exactly as you might have seen on television recently. There were a lot of people who were very unhappy.
The auditorium at Brunswick Community College was overflowing with a crowd of several thousand and parking was a nightmare, but it was well worth attending. A Wilmington television reporter described the crowd as “rowdy”, but I think a better description would be informed, prepared, and frustrated. There were no ‘paid protesters’ at the event, and I might have been the only voter there who lives outside that district.
A lottery was held for attendees who wanted to ask a question or make a comment. Approximately 20 people were chosen out of several hundred who entered the lottery. Every person chosen gave their name, workplace (there were teachers, doctors, scientists, retirees, and students) and residence to show they lived in the district. Many of them identified their political affiliation, and it seemed evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The questions and comments covered a variety of topics, but were focused on healthcare including Planned Parenthood, education and school choice, climate change and protecting the environment, immigration and the travel ban, and the Trump Administration’s budget and ties to Russia.
As far as I could determine, Mr. Rouzer did not actually answer a single question, nor did he directly address any of the comments. He appeared to listen, but at the end of each comment or question he gave a talking point. Several citizens asked for a simple yes or no answer, but Mr. Rouzer refused to provide it. When one speaker read a statement of support for the ACA, he turned his back to her and as she finished her statement he simply said “next” with no other comment. Other than that incident the Congressman was not overtly rude, but he was condescending.
Mr. Rouzer did make some false statements about Planned Parenthood, climate change, immigration, and health care. Unfortunately, that seems to be typical for most politicians these days.