Troop Pullout Discussion at Town Hall Meeting
United States Representative Cliff Stearns was all ears today as the people of Alachua County voiced their opinions.Â
At times, hostility ran high.Â House democrats just passed aggressive legislation dictating a September 2008 troop pullout.Â Â
Voters across the country and here in gainesville, are demanding lawmakers act.Â Â Â
Â Â Â After walking in support of the March of Dimes, Congressman Stearns spent the day in four scheduled town hall meetings.Â Topics ranged from serious national talk to local issues.Â Residents asked lots of questions but say they weren't completely satisfied with the answers.
Â Â Â Â Â Although stearns says he can't promise anything,Â he wants to know what the people of district six have to say ... and they sure had a lot on their minds.
"We need to get a backbone in congress and do what's right for the people, " said a concerned resident.
Â Â Â Â It seemed everything under the sun was brought to Congressman Stearns attention.Â He did his best to call on everyone during the meeting, and faced his toughest critics.
Â Â Â "Sir we do not know what's gonna happen when we leave but our soldiers - when they die or when they are wounded - that's very permanent," said another resident.
Â Â Â Â Â This was the main topic, brought up time and time again - the war in Iraq.Â Many at the meeting demanded we pull out of this war and bring troops home now.
Â Â Â Other topics of discussion included education, healthcare,Â and environment.
Â Â Â "A lot of people turned out.Â Some people are happy and other people are not - they've complained, so we're just trying to hear their problems and take small steps to help em," said Congressman Stearns.
Â Â Â With so many questions comments and concerns, many felt they merely scratched the surface.
Â Â Â "We started on the conversation - I feel like i would have liked to talk with him a lot further.Â we got a little bit into it but i would like to have a lot more back and forth with him," said Dan Kahn of Gainesville.
Â Â Â "I'm impressed with the congressmans ability to engage a crowd and appear sincere but then he promised to get my info and be in touch with me and i haven't been approached since the meeting ended so i'm not convinced that this is more then today's act," said Kali Blount.
Â Â Â Â Stearns believes meetings like this will help give the people of alachua county a voice.
Â Â Â "Tts not a real democratic process because Mr Sterns controls the agenda and in the past he's used it to promote his own political philosophy," one of Gainesville's public speakers said .
Â Â Â Â Stearns says that filling out the questionaireÂ he handed out at the meeting will get the ball rolling, and the communities comments will reach congress in Washington DC.
Â Â Â Â Thalia Hayden WCJB TV-20 News
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