ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- North Carolina’s 6th District Representative Mark Walker took a tour across the Piedmont Triad and beyond to answer concerns and questions from the people he represents.
In a lecture room at Alamance Community College, with more than a dozen seats left empty, the Republican was met immediately with questions about the American Health Care Act, or AHCA. Walker and his Republican colleagues passed the bill through the house as a replacement for Obamacare.
One concern was people with pre-existing conditions, who made up a majority of the people attending the town hall, would be priced out of coverage under this new system.
Walker insisted the Affordable Care Act was built on false promises, as North Carolinians now have even fewer options under Obamacare. Many protested the idea, saying things would be different if the state expanded Medicaid.
“The more the government gets involved with something, the less effective it is,” Walker responded. He says the government needs entitlement reform as non-discretionary spending has ballooned over the years on entitlements and paying off interest to the national debt.
Folks were given red and green cards to show how they feel about certain talking points. One debate that split the room, a conversation on aspects of pro-life versus pro-choice.
Mary Ann Pagano, of Graham, asked how the representative could call himself “pro-life” when choosing to support the fetus more so than the health and support of the mother.
“It’s not for the state to interfere between the mother and the child,” Pagano said.
“It’s interesting because there’s a little bit here where we want the state to interfere with every other component of our lives, but not in the life of an unborn child,” Walker responded, saying he will not be apologetic about his pro-life stance.
“I want to know what you’re doing to support the life of the mother,” Pagano said.
“I’m working with community networks that offer support to the mother, whether it’s working with pregnancy centers, whether it’s working with the inner cities in places like Cleveland, New York and Chicago,” Walker responded.
Depending on your politics, folks felt different ways about the town hall.
“There were people in there that wanted to do more of making a statement than asking a question,” said Steve Carter, an Alamance County conservative.
“I honestly don’t think that Mr. Walker actually answered any questions, he just politicized,” said Lorraine Werts, of Mebane.
In the end, there was a sense that these conversations are too important to let emotions take over, and to build a respect for other people’s opinions, even if they’re different.
“I don’t feel like these folks who disagree with me hate me,” Walker said. “They’re entitled to having a strong position and in fact I even commend them for caring enough about their country that they want to be involved.” It was one of the few, if not the only moment the room agreed in applause.