Friday, June 02, 2017

republican Woodall holds hush-hush forum in district, ducks town hall

Rob Woodall is the Georgia 7th district Congressional representative, a republican.

By Chris Joyner - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 2, 2017

When U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall took questions at a forum in Lawrenceville Thursday evening, he called most of his questioners by their first names.

That’s because there are few regulars at the United Tea Party of Georgia’s monthly meeting the four-term Republican doesn’t know. What was missing was angry commentary about the health care bill passed by House Republicans last month or uncomfortable questions about the latest in the Russia investigation.

That’s because Woodall’s appearance was a closely guarded secret. An email from the group Monday touted a “special guest” speaker but withheld the name.


Woodall, one of the more conservative members at the Capitol, told the tea party group he had no intention of providing a forum for protests from the left.

“It is true that we have been protested. We’ve had more meetings people have tried to take over in the last six months than the last six years,” he said. “And where do you think they learned the techniques they are using? It’s tea party doctrine right down the line.”

He’s right about the tea party’s claim on town hall activism. In 2009, tea party groups harassed congressional town halls from coast to coast, billowing their ire over Obamacare to the point that, like today, members of Congress stopped holding them.


Woodall took some tough question at Thursday’s gathering too. Tea party members held his feet to the fire on enacting tougher immigration standards, fighting for tax reform and supporting the president.

To his credit, Woodall did not always tell them exactly what they wanted to hear, including his support for visas for the high-tech industry and agriculture and his insistence that Congress has a duty to counterbalance presidential power. But in the end, folks lined up to shake his hand rather than jab their fingers at him.

For the folks not in the United Tea Party who missed a chance to question their congressman, Woodall said he’s happy to meet with them in his office.

“Folks don’t think your congressman will sit down with you,” he said.

Johnson, the Democratic activist, allows that Woodall does take appointments to meet with constituents. But she said not everybody can take off from work to upbraid their elected official. Town halls, usually held in the evening, are more responsive, she said.


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