Congressman Robert Aderholt is one of the many Republican Congressmen unwilling to hold town hall meetings with constituents, but he will meet with select small groups in private. As the District Coordinator for Indivisible Alabama-District 4, I was “granted” such a meeting with Congressman Robert Aderholt. Here’s how it went.
I was allowed to bring nine other people with me. As our primary focus was healthcare, I invited nurse practitioners and a psychiatric nurse/dean of nursing, and a gentleman who helped implement Tenncare. Because another issue of concern is the environment, a retired federal judge who is the chair of one of the river keeper organizations and who set up the Superfund to clean up the old Republic Steel site was there. I also invited a former Gadsden City Council member and activist, the chairs of the Marshall and Etowah County Democratic Party, and a member of the Young Democrats.
Topics discussed included:
- Funds for Highway 759.
- President Trump’s dangerous tweets.
- The need to see Trump’s taxes before passing tax reform, so that we find out how he is going to benefit and if there are conflicts of interest.
- The medical personnel who attended relayed heartbreaking stories of their patients, his constituents, who who died because they did not have insurance and were unable to get the healthcare they needed, the fact that disability is so hard to obtain that people are dying before they are approved and that these denials started with a directive from the Reagan administration, the importance of psychiatric care – prevention assessment and the need for more services, the cost of healthcare,
- We discussed the need for Planned Parenthood to provide healthcare and preventative screenings for women. Rep. Aderholt was quickly corrected when he tried to imply that he couldn’t support Planned Parenthood because the funding paid for abortions.
I started the meeting reminding Rep. Aderholt that I had met him in 2004 when he spoke at the Guntersville yacht club. I told him that I disagreed with everything that he stood for and that I was Carl Cole’s Mom (Carl ran against Aderholt in 2004), and that here we are, 13 years later, nothing has changed! I’m still Carl’s Mom and he’s still wrong about everything.
Our meeting was civil, even cordial, and I was proud of every one of our attendees and their intelligent questions. While we knew we would not get the answers that we wanted from him, and I said that at the beginning, I do believe he listened to us. I know he learned a few facts, and the patient stories that the medical personnel told, seemed to impact him.
He would not commit to supporting the reauthorization of the CHIP program before September, saying he would have to see what was in the authorization bill. We did leave him with the binder of letters and emails that many of you sent with your comments and questions.
I encourage everyone to call and schedule meetings when Congress is in recess and to continue to call, write, and email them about the issues that mean something to you. My thanks to everyone who participated in anyway and I am most appreciative of the peaceful sidewalk protest that supported us during our meeting.
Indivisible Alabama District 4 has invited Rep. Aderholt to a public town hall meeting on April 24th. He has declined, but we’re hold it with or without him. Here is the Facebook event page: With or Without Aderholt Town Hall by Indivisible AL District 4.
Monday, April 24. 6-8 pm. Senior Citizen Activity Center, 623 Broad Street, Gadsden, AL