Protesters Ask For Public Meeting With LaHood

(WRSP)

Protesters gathered outside an event where Republican Congressman Darin LaHood spoke to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Demonstrators voiced concerns about healthcare, but that wasn't the only issue at hand. The event was moved at the last minute. The chamber says it simply needed more space, but demonstrators say it's just another example of Congressman LaHood not being accessible.

"It makes me feel like they're up to things. It's cowardly," said Jacksonville resident Judith Luckenbach Nelson. "Whether I voted for him or not, he still represents my district and he's the person I have to go to to get information."

Protesters say they want Congressman Darin LaHood to hear their concerns, especially when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.

Scott Cross, the protest organizer with Organizing for Action, said, "He's voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which lowered the uninsured rate in District 18 by 56%. Now you tell me, how that is something that you vote to repeal?"

Representative LaHood says he's voting to repeal the ACA to replace it with a plan that includes these factors: "Looking at how we bring more competition in the system," explained Representative LaHood. "For instance, being able to go across state lines for other insurance companies. Looking at how we reign in Medicaid. Not discriminating against pre-existing conditions - that has to be part of this plan, that was something that was good in Obamacare. Being able to keep your kids on insurance until 25 or 26."

Protesters say they just want transparency and a public town hall meeting.

"What's the harm?" asked Cross. "If they believe in such a...stand that whatever this plan is that they're getting ready to, you know, enact is better...Isn't the measure of a man that you stand up for your principles and you talk to the people?"

Congressman LaHood says he has been accessible, and will continue to be. "I have been open and transparent in this process," he said. "I love engaging people on these issues. Over the last six months, I've done 250 public events, I've had four elections in 16 months."

The Congressman said if anyone wants to set up a meeting with him, his office would be willing to do that. However, several people say they've tried, and have yet to hear back.

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