Carol Shea-Porter held a Town Hall Meeting in Londonderry Thursday night, answering questions from opponents and supporters alike. Most questions focused on the health care law. Some asked about the deficit and the increasing polarization of the two major political parties. One person stated that the health care law supports abortion; Shea-Porter said the Hyde Amendment is still in effect and that there is no federal funding of abortion. She mentioned that President Barack Obama had also issued an executive order to the same effect.
Although the meeting was scheduled for 1 hour, it ran for almost 2 hours. Those who wanted to ask questions were given a ticket, and if a person’s number was called, s/he got 2 minutes to make a statement, after which Shea-Porter responded. Tim Siekmann asked the first question about the rising cost of healthcare. Al Baldasaro asked the next question. Carol Shea-Porter said that members of Congress will be getting their healthcare from an exchange, effective in 2014. Audience members expressed surprise that no one knew about this. Shea-Porter said there was a campaign of disinformation being waged by the National Chamber of Commerce and the insurance companies. Another person asked about a national sales tax, known as a value-added tax (VAT) in Europe; the Congresswoman said she was opposed to such a tax.
Shea-Porter noted the anger in the room as she was interrupted by booing frequently. She said she was angry too about many of the same issues, and that the healthcare law is an imperfect one. The room was packed with 100 people and others listened from outside the room. Shea-Porter shared the concerns of several questioners and said she was worried that the middle class would disappear without access to affordable education. She paid her way through college working at many jobs but said this was impossible today with the lack of jobs and the high cost of college.
Shea-Porter followed up with some questioners by asking them to speak to her staff so she could provide more information or resources on a topic.
Town Councilor Tom Dolan moderated the meeting, introducing the Congresswoman and picking the tickets out of a hat to announce the lucky number of the person who would ask the next question.
By Mary Tetreau