While there may have been a couple of tense moments, U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s town hall meeting didn’t have the dynamics of other such meetings as he addressed concerns from the public about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The meeting was held at Carl Albert State College Wednesday.
At the outset, Mullin admonished the public to refrain from waving pieces of paper and be respectful of others with different opinions.
Mullin was alluding to recent incidents in which a woman at one of his town hall meetings was asked to leave because she was waving a piece of paper and his cancellation of a Tahlequah meeting due to “safety concerns.”
One audience member voiced concern about her two children with cystic fibrosis and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority having to make cuts due to budget concerns in the state.
Mullin said the Medicaid services through the Affordable Care Act saw an explosion due to Medicaid being controlled through Washington. He said the program was designed to help the elderly, disabled, single mothers and children in need of assistance.
“Able-bodied individuals were being pushed into Medicaid when it’s supposed to be a state-run service,” Mullin said. “The ACA mandates were becoming unsustainable.”
Ed Henshaw voiced concern over the Social Security system being abused. “I know there are some people who need it, but I’m not for freeloaders,” he said.
Mullin said there has been a growth in “gaming the system.” “They either qualify or they don’t. Those who qualify need it the most but those who don’t need to get off. Those programs should be handled at the local level,” Mullin said.
Daryl Phillips, who described himself as part of the Indivisible movement, encouraged the young people attending the meeting to join that movement.
Phillips then asked Mullin if he would vote “what’s best for us whether it was a Democrat bill or a Republican bill.
“I say I’m an American first. We vote based on our life experience or the way we were raised,” Mullin said before commenting on the Indivisible movement.
“Indivisible is ok as long as the people are under control. Someone posted all my personal information on social media, and there have been some of the most disgusted, perverted things in my email and that’s wrong,” Mullin said. “That came from a person that is part of Indivisible.”
According to an Indivisible website, Indivisible is a progressive movement started in 2016 as a result of Donald Trump being elected president.
The movement started with the online publication of a handbook “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.” Reportedly, the guide was to “encourage resistance to Trump’s presidency primarily by targeting Republican elected members of Congress, by attending town hall meetings, calling congressional officials, visiting their offices and showing up at public events.” It is modeled after the Tea Party movement.
Phillips argued he was not there to disrupt the meeting.
A 13-year-old attendee voiced concern over the construction of the wall and the effect it might have on Oklahoma.
“The wall has to do with security. There has been a tremendous amount of crime spilling over from Mexico into the United States. It’s a security wall and we’re trying to protect the citizens of the United States. The wall is not going to take away from Oklahoma,” Mullin said.
One woman asked about a single payer healthcare system and Mullin strongly responded by saying he would not support a socialist system over right to chose. “I’m not going to support a socialist system,” he said.