Amash Meets Constituents in Battle Creek

Feb 23, 2017

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) addresses constituents at a town hall meeting in Battle Creek on Feb. 23, 2017
Credit Chris Killian / WMUK

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) says he will "call out" President Donald Trump if he oversteps his executive authority. Amash made the promise during a town hall meeting in downtown Battle Creek on Thursday, Feb. 23.

"I believe very strongly in sticking to the Constitution, upholding the rule of law, defending liberty. And it doesn’t matter to me if you have a Republican in the White House, a Democrat in the White House, who’s in charge of government. I am going to do that.”

Amash went on to say that he's worried about some of things the new president has been doing recently.

“Now I think that Donald Trump is in many ways more threatening than President Obama. More directly threatening. More directly threatening toward – I want to be clear – more directly threatening toward people who might disagree with him.”

Amash faced supporters as well as critics during the event that drew about 300 people to the Full Blast recreation center. They raised concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act, immigration, and Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election, among other issues.

Amash said he supports repealing and replacing "Obamacare" with a new program. He says the current law has hurt as many people as it has helped and has not lowered the cost of health care. Sandra Byrd of Battle Creek agrees.

“It’s not working. I actually enrolled in the ACA effective Jan. 1. Go ahead and kill it. I’ll send you a thank you note. I’m not mad at you.”

But a small business owner from Ada, who didn't give his name, represented a larger group in the audience who supported the ACA.

“I priced healthcare for my family. It was $2,000 a month. When the ACA went into effect by healthcare dropped to $500 a month. I want to keep my business open but if you vote to get rid of the ACA I will close by business and I don’t want to do that.”

Despite a few heated exchanges between supporters and critics of Trump, the Battle Creek meeting was civil. That was in contrast with other recent congressional town halls across the nation where many GOP lawmakers faced sharp criticism from their constituents.

Amash plans to hold another town hall meeting in Hastings on Saturday, Feb 25. Fellow Congressman Fred Upton (R-Saint Joseph) has come under pressure to hold similar sessions but has yet to do so. Upton has rarely held town hall meetings since he was first elected to the House in 1986. A spokesman says he prefers individual meetings with constituents or forums via telephone.

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