Democrats hold town hall in Rep. Lewis' district
APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (KMSP) - With Congress on recess, many lawmakers are getting an earful from their constituents about the House's newly passed health care bill.
In the second district, Rep. Jason Lewis decided not to hold a town hall, so a couple of Democrats stepped in and held their own.
"Members of Congress don't do town halls, they are your town halls, we have the privilege of being invited to them," said Rep. Tim Walz.
For a crowd of over 200, it was finally a town hall. A chance to voice questions, raise concerns and speak directly with an elected official.
But instead of Republican Congressman Lewis, they would get his November opponent Angie Craig and neighboring Democrat Congressman Walz.
"I'm concerned that we have a President and a congressman who doesn't understand the sacrifices families make,” said one constituent.
Health care, Russia and how to get in touch with Congressman Lewis were frequent topics of concern.
Nationwide Republican lawmakers are facing increasing public pressure over town halls.
"I've always been a firm believer that this is the way things should be done,” said Walz. “It's a learning experience for members of Congress; you hear incredibly good questions."
"I think you have to stand up and listen to all constituents, even the ones you don't agree with or who may not agree with you," said Craig.
The absence of Rep. Lewis is a platform for future challengers like Craig to make their case.
"What I really need to do is listen to all of you because in my mind that's exactly what Jason and his friends are not doing," said Craig.
It's an opportunity Democrats are seizing across the country.
But for many constituents the goal is simple - make their voices heard to anyone who will listen.