HOLDREGE – Sen. Deb Fischer said before her town hall meeting in Holdrege at the City Auditorium that she was excited to see so many people getting involved in democracy. By the end of the nearly two hour “listening session” many of the 200 people in attendance had gotten to express their first amendment rights.
Health care, gun control and Betsy DeVoss were some of the items discussed on Thursday. Fischer started the meeting with a ten minute discussion of her activity in the Senate. After that, the questions began and the tone was set early with a question about Fischer’s policy of not giving out numbers of for and against calls that her office receives. The questioner then asked for the number of people that were against the controversial nomination of DeVoss as Education Secretary. Fischer stood steady on her policy.
“As a state senator I didn’t release that information and I won’t now,” Fischer said. “It is my job to use my judgement and make the best decision for the state.”
Some in the audience disagreed, saying her job was to do the people’s will. Fischer said she took the people’s will into account when making the decision to support the DeVoss nomination. That would not put the issue to rest, as many more questions were asked about her qualifications to hold the position.
The afternoon was peppered with applause, boos and cheers. Some of the loudest applause came when Fischer was asked if she believes that President Trump should release his income tax returns.
“It isn’t a requirement,” she said, “but I believe he should.”
When asked if she would make that statement on the floor of the Senate, she stopped short, saying that that was a place of civility.
Much of the rest of the discussion came from the health care controversy. On this point, there seemed to be agreement. Fischer listened as several audience members stood to give suggestions, including members of the medical field who said the system was flawed. While many agreed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) wasn’t working, there appeared to be many concerns about the House bill known as the American Health Care Act. Fischer said that she hadn’t gotten into the House bill yet and said it would mostly look different if it made it to the Senate.
Fischer also fielded questions about gun control, veterans issues and President Trump’s demeanor.
Fischer said she plans on holding 26 town halls around the state during the year.