MATTHEWS, N.C. – After months of pressure, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R–N.C., launched a week of town hall meetings Monday.
Nationwide, constituents have demanded that lawmakers show up and address them face-to-face; particularly as Republicans mull over changes to health care.
On Monday, Rep. Pittenger became one of the first lawmakers in the nation to agree to a town hall meeting. Voters packed inside a Matthews church for the first of eight meetings.
Pittenger had to beg the crowd several times to remain respectful, as the hall echoed with boos, chants, shouts and cheers.
Not all the attendees were happy in the end.
“He listened but he did not hear us,” one woman said.
“He dodged so many questions and it really bothered a lot of people,” said another. “At least he showed up tonight.”
That seemed to be the shared sentiment, as constituents continue to demand face-to-face meetings with their Republican leaders.
That includes North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who has not agreed to hold a public meeting despite pressure from voters to do so.
Only a few months ago, a group packed on to boats and staged a protest outside Tillis’ Lake Norman home.
So when Pittenger set up this series of meetings, plenty jumped at the opportunity. But not many Republicans took to the mic Monday.
The one person who did was booed into silence.
“He's really not even given a chance," one man said. "The audience is very disrespectful."
But Pittenger says he will continue to show up and see the week out.
“Town hall is important because I want to be accessible,” he told NBC Charlotte’s Savannah Levins. “Many members of Congress frankly don't do this anymore, but I want to be out there and I want them to know that I represent them.”
Pittenger’s town hall meeting schedule is as follows:
- Wingate University’s Batte Fine Arts Center: Tuesday, August 29, 6 p.m. (220 North Camden St., Wingate)
- Anson County Government Center: Wednesday, August 30, 10 a.m. (101 South Green St., Wadesboro)
- Rockingham City Hall: Wednesday, August 30, 12:30 p.m. (514 Rockingham Rd.)
- Scotland County Emergency Operations Center: Wednesday, August 30, 3 p.m. (1403 West Blvd., Laurinburg)
- Lumberton City Hall: Wednesday, August 30, 6 p.m. (500 North Cedar St.)
- Fayetteville City Hall: Thursday, August 31, 9 a.m. (433 Hay St.)
- Cape Fear Farmer’s Market: Thursday, August 31, 1:30 p.m. (106 Martin Luther King Dr., Elizabethtown)
- South Charlotte: Thursday, August 31, 7 p.m. at Providence High School (1800 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte)