Lawmaker pleads at town hall: ‘Yelling at me’ won’t change anything

Rep. Doug Collins addresses a mix of demonstrators and supporters at a town hall in Gainesville. Curtis Compton/

GAINESVILLE – The seesawing crescendo of boos, cheers, one-liners and comebacks from the crowded pews seemed close to spinning out of control when U.S. Rep. Doug Collins set down his microphone, sat down quietly and asked for a “collective deep breath.”

He represents the most conservative congressional district in Georgia — Donald Trump carried this North Georgia territory by nearly 80 percent — but the Democrats here are passionate, and they came to Collins’ town hall this week in force to give him an earful.

The tumult at Wednesday’s meeting only echoed other rocky GOP events across the nation, where divided crowds unleashed their pent-up anger, or in some cases gathered to display their unflinching support, on their representatives.

Before the 80-minute session ended, Collins’ constituents peppered him with tough questions about the ill-fated attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pressed him on his support for the president and asked, several times in written form, about whether he would put “country before party.”

And to the protesters who interrupted, Collins counseled: “Yelling at me is not going to change my position.”

Read more on MyAJC: Georgia GOP reps meet healthy share of jeers, cheers at town halls

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