BEND, OR -- Republican Congressman Greg Walden (OR-Dist. 2) faced a hostile, largely anti-Trump crowd Thursday, at his first Bend town hall in four years. "Thank you for coming, Greg," said one audience member, early on. Walden responded, "It's good to be here," which garnered laughter and cheers until he interrupted, "Let me finish. Let me just say, if I could, as I said, I would rather have this any day of the week, than people who sit on their butts at home and never vote."
It was standing room only at Mountain View High School, which was filled with people holding signs like "Healthcare for all." Walden faced critical questions about his support of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. An Emergency Room doctor told Walden, "I've got a good centrist perspective, because America wants healthcare; but it's got to be better. And, you've got to have it for everybody."
He also faced questions about his reluctance to support background checks for gun sales, the attack on the First Amendment and the President's immigration policies - specifically, his desire to build a southern border wall. One woman expressed concern about Walden's general support of President Trump. "A foreign country interfered with out nation's presidential election. When are you going to stand up for our country? Not for your party - but for our country?" Her question was met with cheers from the crowd.
Other topics discussed include public lands and global warming. The town hall was scheduled for just an hour, but it lasted nearly twice that as the Congressman talked with constituents. One man told Walden, "We the people thank you for taking the time to listen to those individuals in our community who truly understand what a great country we already have. The audience here this evening provides further evidence that we do care about what happens or what does not occur in Washington."
Thursday morning, Congressman Walden hosted a town hall at Crook County High School that drew a less rowdy crowd of a few hundred.