My Congressman, Tom Perriello, held more town hall meetings During August than anyone in the country at last check. Meetings throughout the District were attended by hundreds, maybe in excess of thousands of citizens seeking information and to ask their representative questions face-to-face.
I attended two meetings; one in Prince Edward County, and one in Cumberland County. The two meetings were very similar, and had stark differences as well. In my experience, citizens at the meetings who chose to make a statement or ask a question were woefully uninformed. There were questions that could have been answered by watching Brian Williams or even a cable news show.
The biggest issue I think that is misunderstood is the issue of undocumented immigrants and whether this plan would pay for their health care. It was asked in both of the meetings I was at, and in others whose accounts I read. It seemed incomprehensible to some that this is the truth. Of course, President Obama’s address to Congress and the nation Wednesday bore this out, as a congressman called the President a liar in front of the whole world.
Both meetings I attended were alike in that early in the question asking there were people who I worried for, their delusions having taken them over completely. In Prince Edward County, The first in line to question kept referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the ‘…Socialist Nancy Pelosi…’
He continued to complain that this country isn’t tough enough. After all, he said, waterboarding is just splashing a little water in your face. So we tortured people, they probably deserved it, he said.
The questions actually got a lot more clear after that, but on issues that some in the crowd were mostly in favor of, the ideas expressed by Perriello encouraged their reaction, which was them sitting on their hands. Questions on energy, health care, Medicare, and many other subjects came up.
Tucker Watkins, Chair of the Republican Committee for the 5th District, was there. You might remember Watkins from his invention of the highly popular (in Republican circles at least) Purple Heart band-aid, used to smear John Kerry in 2004. He was Virgil Goode’s campaign manager last year.
Cumberland County’s meeting was more sparsely attended than the other meeting. Prince Edward County’s meeting had about 250 people in attendance. Cumberland County had around 100.
I have already written about the most embarrassing moment for me during the meeting in my home county. The meeting was well handled by Congressman Perriello, and although he was fatigued from holding 5 meetings a week, he was attentive and courteous to everyone.
Below are some photographs of the meetings, as well as a video that is a portion of the answers Congressman Perriello gave at Cumberland County’s meeting. Enjoy!