SONORA (CBS13) — A contentious and noisy crowd filled the Sonora High School auditorium on Wednesday night to listen and ask questions of Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay).
This was the third town hall meeting in a week. All of which have included large divided crowds.
An hour before Wednesday night’s meeting several hundred people were already gathered outside the auditorium doors. Some holding signs reading “We Support Tom,” while other carried signs expressing their discontent for the congressman.
“There were a few people in there who are very aggressive and frustrated,” said one woman leaving the event.
“I think people need to exchange ideas. I think it’s great that people pour out like this,” said another.
Supporters and opponents of Tom McClintock came to ask questions and listen.
“I felt Congressman McClintock didn’t answer a lot of questions,” said Laura Lowell. “He kind of tap danced around them.”
An organized group from within McClintock’s district passed out signs opposing the congressman. Many of his supporters crowded the front with signs saying “RESPECT.”
“I was raised in a home where we respect people regardless of their opinions of what they’re saying or not,” said Amy Rudloff, a McClintock supporter.
There were many outbursts during the more than two and a half hours McClintock took questions.
Several questions were about the Affordable Care Act. McClintock reiterated his repeal and replace stance saying he’d like to “remove the one size fits all mandate and put in place a system with more choices.”
He was questioned on his support of fracking.
“I think that is been one of the greatest booms to the American economy,” said McClintock. The rest of his answer was quickly drowned out by “boos” from the crowd.
He shuffled around specific immigration questions. Holding strong that current immigration law should be enforced.
McClintock repeatedly defended the president on a range of issues from Donald Trump’s tax returns to Russian ties.
“I would have to hear more disturbing allegation and that in order to justify my support for the investigation,” said McClintock.
The congressman reiterated his opposition to the idea of making California a sanctuary state when asked about the issue.
“Any jurisdiction that refuses to enforce federal law should not be receiving federal law-enforcement vouchers,” said McClintock.
On the flip side, he repeatedly agreed with cannabis supports in the crowd who plead for federal action to remove marijuana from the schedule one drug designation saying the federal government needs to “mind their own business.”
The questions continued for two hours and 45 minutes.
Some people calling the Q&A session “constructive” and a needed opportunity to listen to the other side.
“We need to put ourselves in each other’s shoes,” said Lowell.
A McClintock staffer says the congressman will be holding more town hall events in the future and that an announcement will be made when they are scheduled.