Busti Officials Plan Apology After Reed Town Hall

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed recently held two town hall meetings in Chautauqua County. As was the case earlier this year, Reed was met with backlash regarding his stance to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 
P-J photo by Eric Tichy

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed recently held two town hall meetings in Chautauqua County. As was the case earlier this year, Reed was met with backlash regarding his stance to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

BUSTI — Busti town officials have agreed to pen an apology letter to U.S. Rep. Tom Reed over what they called a “childish” reception by attendees of a recent town hall.

Reed, R-Corning, was reportedly met with a chorus of boos while fielding questions at the Busti Fire Department on May 6, much of it centered on the House’s passing of the American Health Care Act, which aims to dismantle much of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.

At Monday’s town board meeting, Jesse M. Robbins, Busti town supervisor, said a number of “non-town liberals and dirty people” were chiefly responsible for the ruckus, traveling to each local town hall to simply heckle Reed.

“It was awful,” said Robbins, a Republican. “We don’t treat our people this way … and (Reed) took a pounding.”

Kenneth J. Lawton, a Republican member of the board, echoed Robbins, calling the crowd reaction “obstructionism” and a “distraction from the issues.”

“It was nothing to be proud of,” Lawton said. “The definition of a town hall meeting is very different from what we saw … it was really frustrating.”

Lawton volunteered to write the letter, which will be signed by the entire board before being sent to Reed.

Rudy Mueller, a Democratic member of the board, said the letter should also be a letter of thanks and recognize Reed’s willingness to conduct the town hall. “(Reed) could have not shown up, but he did,” he said. “I think that took a lot of courage.”

Reed conducted several town hall meetings throughout the 23rd congressional district in the wake of the American Health Care Act’s passage in the House.

Attendees have questioned whether the health care bill would end up costing more for the sick and elderly. Others have criticized the reduction of funding to Medicaid, a program that covers low-income citizens that was expanded in many states under Obamacare.

Reed has remained consistent in his views.

“There was a lot of good dialogue,” Reed told reporters following the May 6 gathering. “In my perspective, there is so much misinformation and there’s so much fear out there that if we can do a little to alleviate that then it’s well worth it in and of itself.”

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