SARTELL, Minn. (KMSP) - Voters are riled up across the country and some are getting more politically involved than ever before as the Trump administration takes control of the White House.
Wednesday evening in Sartell, Republican U.S. Representative Tom Emmer hosted a town hall meeting. Prior to the event he said he would cancel the event if people got too disruptive after he learned progressive activist groups were calling on people to show up and protest.
But despite a huge crowd, the congressman had no need to leave. While tensions were high, it remained civil.
The issues addressed at the meeting reflected the same issues dominating the news cycle: Russia, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, and Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Congressman Tom Emmer criticized the rollout of the order, but agreed that proper vetting needs to be in place.
“That executive order was rolled out extremely poorly,” said Emmer. “We want to make sure people who are coming to this country to pursue the American dream that they come to this country legally and can pursue that dream and they can be safe and secure while doing it. The issue that we’re going to have going forward is that we also have to make sure that we’re properly vetting people to know they’re coming here for the American dream.”
The crowd responded to his statement with a chorus of disagreements, but the dialogue continued nonetheless.
Only around 150 people could fit in the room, while another several hundred waited outside. Some of the people who did get in told Fox 9 they arrived four hours early to ensure they would be able to ask the congressman a question face-to-face.
The large showing was no surprise, as President Donald Trump’s election and the controversial orders that have followed have resulted in huge turnouts of protesters at town halls across the country.
Many are comparing it to Tea Party-backed protests in 2010 and 2012 at town hall meetings held by democratic lawmakers.
Emmer is the only Republican member of Congress from Minnesota to have an open town hall so far this year. Most are going with the safer telephonic town hall where questions are screened and the lawmaker isn't there in person.
Emmer received a round of applause for showing up to the meeting, while others around the country continue to cancel.