By. K.D. Norris
For about two hours, U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Michigan’s Second Congressional District, stood in front of an audience of about 200 people attending a Town Hall Listening session April 11 at Godwin Heights High School.
Rep. Huizenga spent some time defending his recent congressional actions and stands on current issues such as President Donald Trump’s Syrian bombing decision, Obamacare and the Republican-led efforts to overhaul the American healthcare system, and the future of American leadership in battling climate change.
But for much of the meeting, he stood quietly and heard a mostly antagonistic, often aggressive, crowd attack him from all sides. And, Huizenga says, the scenario has become all too common since the last election.
“Absolutely,” Rep. Huizenga said to a question from WKTV. “It is, I think, a backstop that many people — who believed was there with Barack Obama at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, acting as their backstop — is now gone. And they are seeing that their political beliefs, which you could argue are maybe a bit out of step with what most of West Michigan is, doesn’t have a champion in Washington right now.
“Clearly that is why, I think, they have gotten more — aggressive is maybe one of the words, but I think it is just a level of concern that has been ramped up,” Huizenga said.
Huizenga was able to explain his stands on several topics: He supports President Donald Trump’s Syrian bombing decision. He thinks Obamacare is doomed and only new Republican-led action can save the American healthcare system. He thinks the issue of Nestle Corporation extracting more groundwater from Michigan is a state issue, not his issue, to deal with. And he thinks the United States should not go it alone in dealing with climate change and supports roll-backs of President Barack Obama’s actions on the issue.
But a not uncommon prelude to a question was critical remarks, including one from Dorr resident Bill Keysor, who prefaced his question about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with the statement that he was “mad you haven’t been doing your job … (that you’d) rather play politics than represent us the way we’d like to be represented.”
And the often contentious talk does it make it more difficult for the Representative to explain his actions, to define his beliefs, Huizenga said.
“There are some folks there to actually have a dialogue,” he said. “My doctor, who was there … We don’t agree politically, which is fine. But trying to have a conversation … depending on the question, trying to have a conversation (is hard). They were demanding I have an answer or demanding I be quiet and listen. Well, OK. Do you want a response or not want a response?”
But “that’s fine. I mean, I get it. This is part of the job. We will keep doing it, we have always done it before. It hasn’t always gotten quite the attention that it is receiving right now. But what I want to do is to point out that I like those times when it is productive. … Is is just unfortunate that when you have people that are somehow trying to deny other folks, from their opportunity to be a part of this. That’s just disappointing, frankly.”
The Wyoming town hall meeting was the third since the start of the new year. He talked to a crowd of about 300 people in Baldwin in February, and about 1,000 in Grand Haven in March.
For more information about the Representative’s agenda and actions, visit huizenga.house.gov