Georgia’s 9th Congressional District includes more than a dozen counties in the northeast part of the state, and it’s the country’s third most conservative, but a town hall hosted by its representative Wednesday showed sharp divisions.
Republican Rep. Doug Collins answered questions from a crowd of more than 250 at the Gainesville city courthouse, at times talking over liberal protesters and his GOP supporters who yelled at them to “shut up.”
Congress is on its August recess, and some Georgia Republicans are holding the in-person town hall meetings their constituents have demanded for months.
GOP Rep. Buddy Carter is set to hold seven in-person town halls by Thursday, and Sen. Johnny Isakson has one scheduled for Monday evening at Kennesaw State University.
Health care dominated the Collins town hall, and he didn’t shy away from the topic.
"The issue you have here, is a system that's simply not working,” Collins said.
In May, Collins voted for the bill to repeal and replace major parts of Obamacare. That Republican effort ultimately died in the Senate, but Collins told the crowd the GOP needs to keep trying.
"Do I support actually just patching up a bill that I believe is in a death spiral? No, I don't. Because it's not going to work,” he said.
Joene Deplancki thinks the same way. She wants Obamacare gone.
"I'm very frustrated that conservatives, basically, supposedly, have the House, the Senate and the presidency, and we haven't done anything,” she said.
Angela Middleton isn't happy with how Collins voted on health care.
She's a high school basketball coach and says Republicans and Democrats need to work together to fix Obamacare.
"As a team, we can get it accomplished, but as long as we're individuals, and we act as individuals, then we can't win. No one wins,” she said.