An exercise in free speech
I recently attended a town hall held by Congressman Lou Barletta at the Amvets in Lansford. I am a constituent of Mr. Barletta's, I am concerned about the Ryan budget, and I was aware that Mr. Barletta voted for it, including its provisions to change Medicare into a voucher system, essentially killing the program.
Congressman Barletta began the meeting using charts prepared by the Republican Party. He explained that seniors in the room would not be affected by the Medicare changesthe voucher system would only apply to people under 55. He told us seniors that we had no reason to be concerned. At that point I stood up and said that I had a daughter, a grandson, and nieces, and I was concerned about them. They pay into Medicare and deserve to have the program available when they reach 65.
At this point two men in black tee-shirts began to yell at me to shut up and sit down. Another man, unknown to me, stood up and shouted back and was escorted from the room. That was the only disruption of the meeting.
The next day Congressman Barletta told the press that I was part of an organized group bent on disrupting the town hall. He is wrong and I would like to set the record straight. I did not disrupt the meeting. I spoke up; perhaps the Congressman does not understand that his constituents have a right to question his actions. Secondly, I was not part of an organized group. I am the Chair of a Democratic Club, but my decision to attend the meeting was an individual decision based on my concerns about Medicare. I knew only one other person in the room, and he did not speak.
My actions that night were a legitimate exercise of free speech.