On Monday evening, Oct 30th, Rep. Jack Bergman held a Town Hall in the Traverse City Central High School Auditorium to a packed house. In answering questions, Rep. Bergman gave almost no specifics. He said he was a data guy, however that was not reflected in his answers. The speakers often had more facts and data in their questions then we heard in his answers.
There were 41 questions from 37 people. The Cherry Queen, who sat by his side, began by asking three questions that I presume he had prepared answers. The audience was allowed one question apiece, limited to one minute.
There were nine questions on the ACA/Health Coverage. Six questions were asked on Climate Change and the Environment. Line 5 drew three questions. Eight questions were asked on Tax Reform and the Federal Budget. Education and the conduct of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos got two questions. The other topics were the First Amendment, the Second Amendment and Gun Rights, Federal Response to Disaster, DACA, Possible Firing of Mueller, Visas and need for Farm Laborers, Poverty, Particularly for Women and Children, and Sex Education Programs at TCAPs. Two interesting questions were: How are you making sure that constituents who do not agree with you are still being heard? He answered that he was delivering on the platform he ran on which is Federalism, Strong Borders, and Keeping the Federal Government Out of Your Business.
The last questioner asked if Bergman was proud of Trump and why. He answered yes, but then retreated and ended the session in spite of people calling that they wanted to know why. He did let the word leadership slip, but perhaps realized he didn’t want to go on record for his support for Trump.
I classified answers as 1) Informative, 2) Political Platitudes, 3) No Answer 4) Will Study It 5) React if it Happens, and 6) Comment by the Speaker Only. I classified 15 as Informative and they were concentrated in the first 16 questions with only three coming later. Informative meant he addressed the question and used some specificity in answering it. Twelve answers were Political Platitudes where he said something that might relate to the question, like “we need to be fiscally responsible”. Eleven times I recorded No Answer, or that he would "study it" or, as in the Mueller firing question, he refused to consider it until it happened.
I realize that this report is subjective but I did my best to convey his attitude and meaning. Rep. Bergman was often condescending, calling us “kids,” and” boys and girls”. He also said that this was not a debate when people tried to pin down his answer. I went home very discouraged because he seemed minimally informed, and said several times that he was only in his first year. He did not seem well prepared on many current topics. He seems a very weak representative for the First District of Michigan.
Apparently, we were reported in the Record Eagle as a “Rowdy Crowd”. We were not. Some people did not appreciate the prayer at the beginning and said the Pledge of Allegiance instead. Many speakers thanked him for his military service, and service in the Congress. The strongest protest was when he ended the session without revealing why he was proud of Trump. You can download my spreadsheet classifying Bergman's answers to specific questions by clicking HERE.
You can hear and see the entire town hall go to: