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town halls

Bill Huizenga answering a question
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Congressman Bill Huizenga is accustomed to lively town hall meetings. The meeting he held in Muskegon was no different. 

Hundreds of Huizenga's constituents attended the meeting. He was booed several times for supporting President Donald Trump and challenging the government's place in providing healthcare.

Huizenga says he supports Republican ideals more than any one person.

“What I support is a conservative philosophy that understands where people are coming from. It's not about one person,” Huizenga said. 

Dan kildee talking to crowd
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan members of Congress are back in their districts on their August break.

During the first half of year, many Michigan congressmen held raucous town hall meetings with people angry about the presidential election and the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee says he’s still seeing frustrated constituents. But he says their frustration is different.

Rep. Justin Amash takes questions from constituents in Grand Rapids.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Congressman Justin Amash faced more than two hours of harsh questioning from constituents at a town hall event in Grand Rapids last night.

It was Amash’s first town hall since his controversial vote in the U.S. House to support the Republican health care bill, known as the American Health Care Act or AHCA.

People who attended the town hall with Rep. Dave Trott (R-11th) used green and red colored cards to show approval or disagreement.
Tyler Scott

A crowd started gathering before dawn Saturday  for a town hall with Republican Congressman Dave Trott. Hundreds came out to the 8 am meeting, after constituents spent months pressuring Trott to speak with them. 

Despite boos, Trott told the crowd he'll vote in favor of the Republican healthcare reform bill next week, also known ast the American Healthcare Act.  

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Probably the easiest way for editorial cartoonists to get readers on their side is to make a general target of politicians.

You know, not really saying anything, but instead depending on people's recognition of the stereotype to do all the work — kind of like a hack standup comedian:

"And hey, what's up with those politicians? Have you seen these guys? They're killing me with their this and their that. Who's with me?! Am I right?!"

I do my best to avoid that.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congressman Bill Huizenga held a town hall meeting today north of Grand Rapids that last more than four hours, a bit longer than he anticipated.

“And that’s okay,” he said. “What I knew was going to happen was, after two hours or even three hours if I had said ‘OK, you know maybe we’ve had enough,’ there would be all these calls of, you know, ‘He shut it down early!'”

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Some Michigan members of Congress have been criticized lately for avoiding constituents. But two Republican congressmen from West Michigan are hosting in-person events over the next few days.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-2nd Dist., has his first in-person town hall of the year set for this Saturday at noon in Baldwin. The tiny town about an hour north of Grand Rapids was supposed to be a part of Huizenga’s annual snowmobile tour. There’s not enough snow this year, but he didn’t cancel the event.

A sign is posted outside of Rep. Dave Trott's office in Troy
Sarah Scwiek / Michigan Radio

Progressive constituents say Republican Congressmen Dave Trott (R-11), Mike Bishop (R-8) and Tim Walberg (R-7) are avoiding them. Stateside spoke with three such constituents today. 

Below are responses from the offices of the three named Congressmen:

Screen cap from online town hall meeting

Wednesday evening, Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder hosted an online town hall meeting, soliciting questions via email and social networking sites while responding through a streaming video feed on his Facebook profile.

Just prior to the event, there were over 3,500 questions submitted, including:

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

Governor Rick Snyder plans to hold an "online town hall" with Michigan residents a day after giving his second State of the State address.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday.

It will be streamed live on Facebook on the governor’s Rick for Michigan page.

Residents can submit questions in advance at the state website.

They can also post questions on the governor’s Facebook wall or send a message on Twitter to the governor at @onetoughnerd using the hash tag, #AskGovSnyder.

Questions also can be submitted through Facebook and Twitter once the town hall meeting has started.

Snyder will deliver his State of the State address to lawmakers, top administration officials and others at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Capitol.

kelbycarr / flickr

Town hall meetings give voters the chance to come face to face with the politicians who represent them. Recently, most of Michigan’s seventeen U.S. Senate and House members have been steering clear of town hall meetings.

Instead some Congressional members are turning to tele-town hall meetings where they can talk over the phone with constituents. In these settings people can also send emails or use social media such as Twitter to ask questions or give comments.

In this interview Kathy Barks Hoffman, Lansing Correspondent of the Associated Press says:

I think a lot of Congressional members know that voters are not happy with them, that's what the polls show, and I think they are a little reluctant to go head to head [with voters].