Report on Bergman Town Hall, Gaylord Michigan
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Jack Bergman got off on the wrong foot with the crowd of 300 or so, that included an outsize display of police presence and many members of the GT Dems and TC Indivisibles, at his Town Hall last night in Gaylord by having a minister attempt to pray before the Representative took questions. The poor fellow was drowned out with chants of ‘separation of church and state!” and ‘this ain’t no church!’ The gentleman from Gaylord who introduced the Representative, attempting to lecture the crowd on the etiquette of Town Halls, set fire to the raucous crowd who gave no quarter, alternately cheering to questions asked, or robustly booing, shaking red construction paper to signal displeasure at his often-noncommittal responses, or giving ‘thumbs down’ in abject dismissal.
To be fair, the Representative did agree to support funding for the Sioux Locks infrastructure improvements, shutting down Line Five ‘if’ it is proven unsafe, funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Project, full transparency and accountability for any school who takes federal or state funding, keeping pollutants out of our lakes and streams, overhaul of the Veteran’s Choice Program, Meals on Wheels and children’s food programs, funding for public libraries and the humanities and arts in general, and agreed to vote to keep oil and gas drilling out of our national and state parks and private lands.
Nevertheless, all too often the Representative waffled or was non-committal in response to whether he would support The Tax Transparency Act that would force Trump to release his income taxes, Trump’s conflict of interests, an independent investigation into Trump’s possible collusion with Russian hacking of the 2016 election, the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine the ACA, or why we cannot have healthcare for all? The Representative also waffled when asked if he approved spending billions to build a wall along our border with Mexico, by saying simply that he supported border security.
The crowd was especially uncomplimentary when asked if he supported simplification of the tax code. He said he did, and that he supported reducing the ridiculously high percentage of taxes that corporations pay. When he said, he supported turning Planned Parenthood services over to local clinics, although he would never presume to tell a woman what to do with her body. When he said, he felt changes must be made to how Social Security is funded. When he said, he felt EPA environmental regulations needed to be cut back. And particularly when he said he would support the Congressional Investigative Committees rather than support an independent investigative committee to consider Trump’s collusion with the Russian hacking of the 2016 election.
All in all, it was not a comfortable night for Jack Bergman, who hopefully took back with him a sense of how angry his middle class, and working poor constituents are at the betrayal of the Trump administration’s promises, and the Republicans collusion to defund the safety net for the most vulnerable of our citizens, their healthcare, environmental protections, and civil liberties that have been fought for and hard won over the last three decades, only to see a wholesale attempt to ignore and dismiss the needs of ordinary American citizens. I think it is safe to say, we took his measure and found it wanting.