ROCKFORD - "If we do nothing with Obamacare it will collapse. It will fail. That's the truth," said Peoria Congressman Darin LaHood to a booing crowd of his constituents Wednesday, during a town hall meeting.
This has been a common occurrence at Republican town halls throughout the country. A senator from Colorado even had a mariachi band play in protest during a town hall meeting.
Now, it's 16th Congressional District Representative Adam Kinzinger's turn. He will be holding a Q&A session this Saturday in Rockford. "My hope is that it's a polite conversation, we're all listening to each other, but if it's not we will deal with it," Kinzinger said.
The meeting is hosted by the League of Women Voters, those attending will be able to submit questions prior to the start. Greater Rockford President Claire McIntrye hopes it creates a less hostile environment.
"That's the way the league operates, it's the way we've operated," McIntyre said. "I really hope people will be civil. I hope they'll listen to what the congressman has to say and I really hope he answers their questions fully," she added.
Rockford resident Michael Smith, a member of the Indivisible Movement, which aims to resist President Trump's agenda, however, is not pleased with the format. "We're not pleased 100% with it. I mean I can't fault the effort," Smith said. "The problem becomes: it's not a town hall. If the League of Women Voters, in my opinion, should do anything, I think it should be to fight for a town hall," he added.
Representative Kinzinger says he's not ducking anyone interested in a productive discourse. "If there's an expectation that we have to do one in every county every week, then I would never be in Washington D.C.," he said. "It's been three months and we're having one Saturday and I encourage people to come out," he added.
The town hall will be held at 6p.m. Saturday at the Rock Valley College gymnasium. It's sponsored by the League of Women Voters and The Association of Mature American Citizens. The League of Women Voters rules prohibit signs or other politically oriented material. Eyewitness News anchor Eric Wilson has agreed to moderate it.
WTVO/WQRF-TV played no role in setting up the town hall or determining the guidelines for the event.
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