On March 18th, Representative Pete Sessions of 32nd district in Texas held a town hall meeting in Richardson High School and as a constituent I looked forward to attending my first town hall meeting. In a unscheduled trip to DC a couple weeks ago, I met with Rep. Sessions for a few minutes and had an idea of how he would answer some questions, especially pertaining to the Obamacare replacement bill (the American Health Care Act).
I noticed very quickly by the signs and t-shirts of the people in line that the crowd wasn’t going to be a friendly one. Represented were Planned Parenthood, Moms Demand Action, Code Pink, the Resist and Indivisible groups, Hillary and Bernie supporters. There was a small group of conservatives but that could have been due to Rep. Sessions’ moderate voting record [see his Conservative Review score here], and especially his recent approval of the Obamacare replacement plan. Perhaps since Rep. Sessions didn’t represent conservatives they weren’t going to support him, either.
Rep. Sessions won his reelection last year by 71% but at this town hall meeting it looked like the 29% who didn’t vote for him decided to show up, filling the high school auditorium to capacity.
Before the congressman approached the stage there were some opening remarks and one of the speakers stirred up the already raucous crowd with her passionate support of Obamacare. With the preliminaries out of the way, Rep. Sessions came to the stage. As expected, he was constantly interrupted throughout his time onstage. The crowd repeatedly yelled words like “Lies!” “Wrong!” “That’s not true!” and “Alternative facts!” during the Congressman’s presentation of replacing the Obamacare with the GOP version that is currently being worked on in the House of Representatives. The crowd continued to heckle Rep. Sessions’ speech until the part of the meeting they all seemed to be waiting for: the question and answer portion.
The process for questions consisted of questions submitted online or written on a form at the venue. With the makeup of the audience being around 80% liberal (if not higher) the questions he received reflected that number.
Each question was basically like a rundown from MSNBC, such as a fear of defunding Planned Parenthood, asking about Russia, and the so-called “Muslim ban”. Or they presented statements in the form of a question, praising Obamacare or condemning President Trump, and so on.
Not all Republicans were frowned upon among the very liberal crowd. Interestingly, John McCain and Lindsey Graham received a nice applause for their needling of President Trump and were offered “appreciation for their efforts”.
Congressman Sessions answered questions for over an hour in which he was booed for his Republican views, while his moderate answers were lightly applauded.
The few of us in the audience who were actually conservative weren’t enthusiastically supportive of Rep. Sessions, either. Neither conservatives nor liberals were happy with his answers, which were loudly rejected by the liberals.
From cheering illegal immigration and single payer health care to booing school choice and free markets the meeting ended with chants of “Do your job!” and “Vote him out!” as everyone filed out of the auditorium.
When leaving, the liberals seemed to be celebrating that they were able to gather so many organizations to the meeting, while at the same time snarling at my Turning Point USA “Socialism Sucks” t-shirt as I passed by (especially from the Bernie Sanders supporters).
If this meeting was any indication, Rep. Sessions may have a real challenge for his seat next year. Between the liberal groups of gaining momentum and with Sessions pushing for the GOP replacement bill that most conservatives have already rejected, next year could be very interesting in Texas’ 32nd Congressional district.