Bergman faces tough crowd at first town hall

ESCANABA — U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman faced the masses Wednesday night at his first town hall since being elected into his position. And he was met with some vocal opposition by his constituents.



“I hear the Republicans say all the time how it’s not working the deductibles are too high, can’t get the doctor of your choice, but I don’t find that to be true at all,” asked a woman in the crowd. “Are you willing to help fix it if there’s a problem and not get rid of it?”

“It’s past the point of fixing,” responded Bergman.

“What’s the answer?”

“I’m going to vote to repeal Obamacare.”

Congressman Jack Bergman fielded some tough questions at his Town Hall Wednesday night at Bay De Noc Community College.

“This is regarding the VA. Being a marine veteran, I’m a little mad at you and I think I got that across when you walked in and I said you’re a disgrace to the Corp,” started an audience member. “You’re a republican and I’ve looked at your record, and you’ve voted in tune with cutting VA funding. Why?”

“Do you support the proposed 31 percent cut to the EPA budget, why or why not?” asked another. “And here’s a side question if you chose to not answer the first one: how is an increase in military spending justified when we’re currently spending more than $600 billion?”

The auditorium was packed to capacity as district one constituents waited their turn to ask questions, some getting their first glimpse at Bergman since the election. For one local group, his absence in the U.P. raises huge concerns and has not gone unnoticed.

“I think Bart Stupak set the standard as far as how this district should be represented,” said Dwight Brady, a concerned citizen. “He was home nearly every weekend and he spent time in this district. When he was home, he was on the road. There’s a very high standard to meet here and Jack Bergman is clearly not meeting it.”

“I have to be where the work is and a couple of times when we came here in February, we got snowed out. I’m not the one who is going to solve their problems, if you will,” said Bergman. “I mean, my staff is going to, they’re spectacular. So the people really need to see the people who are going to get the work done. So, bottom line, I think what the people are really looking for is to have their representative get some things done and solve some problems.”

And that work is in DC, where Bergman says nearly a month of extra time has been added on for congressional sessions in comparison to previous years.

Currently, Bergman is working on three committees in the House of Representatives; budget, natural resources and veteran’s affairs, of which he is the chairmen on investigations and oversights.

Bergman voiced his support for increasing the defense budget as well as cutting funding to the EPA, but said he would be work to see the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative stay fully funded.

ESCANABA — Congressman Jack Bergman made an appearance at Bay De Noc Community College Wednesday night for his first town hall since being elected into his position. And the auditorium was teeming with audience members ready to ask some difficult questions.

Dr. Laura Coleman, the President of Bay College, kicked off the town hall by warning the audience to remain civil and courteous throughout the event, regardless of political affiliation. Bergman entered the stage a few minutes after 7 p.m. and echoed Coleman’s remarks, saying “We’re all in this together.”

After a brief opening statement, the floor was opened to the crowd to ask questions they submitted prior to the start of the town hall. While a slew of questions regarding the repeal status of Obamacare, veteran’s affairs, the EPA and de-funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative were front and center, a group of Democrats traveled from Marquette to ask the congressman where he’s been.

“We are concerned that there are many communities spread out across the U.P. and we are all represented by this one person and he works for us,” said Jenn Hill, a representative of  Froward Action Michigan. He’s a representative for us and we’d like to make sure he knows what’s going on in our local communities.”

ABC 10’s Chelsea Birdsall will have much more on this story and Bergman’s  responses to those tough questions on Thursday.