WYE MILLS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Maryland’s only republican congressman faces an angry audience on Friday, as he holds his first face-to-face town hall since President Trump took office.
On Friday evening, hundreds of people showed up for Representative Harris’ town hall.
While Harris had some supporters, there was fierce opposition. He struggled to keep law and order.
Representative Andy Harris tried to shape the narrative at his own town hall,
to talk about the economy, health care and immigration, but he was received with shouts from the audience.
People who attended were expressing their displeasure before the event even began. When the audience was told signs needed to be limited to a certain size, many booed and waved signs from their seats.
“This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted.
“People came out and they expressed their frustrations. That’s part of the American system,” says Rep. Harris.
This is his first face-to-face town-hall since President Trump took office, but he’s hosted telephone town halls.
“If you don’t agree with me, God bless you,” Harris said. “We’re going to agree to disagree, but America is the best country in the world.
Harris finished the event, which lasted more than an hour, often talking over the booing and heckling. Harris, the only Republican member of Maryland’s congressional delegation, ended his remarks by saying the nation was a great country because people could agree to disagree without fear.
Harris joins a list of lawmakers who’ve experienced backlash on what should be a friendly home turf. Voters say they feel neglected.
“I’ve written him many times and you don’t get anything back.”
“This has been what he does. He doesn’t hear us, he doesn’t listen, he talks at us and he’s not hearing us, and we would like to have a voice today.”
Some voters have been pressuring the congressman to hold a town hall, and this one was scheduled.
People drove from as far away as Howard County and Harford County, over 60 miles.
“We are really strongly speaking out against the Trump agenda in general and Andy Harris typically votes straight party line,” says Karen Waller, from Harford County.
With lines wrapped around the building, the veteran congressman also had supporters mixed in.
“Well we were here to support the fact that he is our republican representative, the only one we have in Maryland and he supports Donald Trump and we wanted to come and show that support,” says Patty Fallon, from Baltimore County.
“Because he’s the only common sense we have. The man is a doctor he knows all about medical things he knows what he’s talking about planned parenthood,” says Paul Lang, Harris supporter.
Jan Plotczyk, of Rock Hall, wore a sandwich board sign that read: “Trump Care Makes America Sick.”
“Even though the immediate threat of losing the Affordable Care Act might be gone for a while, I think that the threat is not dead, and I think that the tide is turning in this country and more and more people want their health care,” Plotczyk said.
Tim Kingston, who is the chairman of the Queen Anne’s County Republican Central Committee, said he had come to support the congressman.
“I’m excited that we get a chance to come together and ask some questions,” Kingston said, adding “and he’s going to protect the Eastern Shore.”
The venue held about 900 people and it was at capacity. For the people who were not able to get inside, they are already requesting another town hall.
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