Town hall crowd gathers in Long Beach, lawmakers no-show

Updated: Feb. 24, 2017 at 9:55 PM CST
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LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Wanting lawmakers to hear their voices, a couple hundred people gathered in Long Beach on Friday for a town hall meeting.

Everyone was invited, and no viewpoints were kept off limits. The mic was open for people to express their concerns. Government accountability, transparency, ethics were among the topics.

"I'm terrified of losing health care coverage," Laurianne Manchester said.

The people in attendance were also encouraged to ask questions.

"They think they can bring back jobs of industries that have been lost forever, I'm just waiting to hear how they're going to do it," said Diamondhead resident Herman Woessner.

The questions and concerns were directed at Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, along with Congressman Steven Palazzo - all who were invited, but not in attendance.

In an earlier interview with WLOX reporter Dave Elliot, Palazzo said he would be glad to talk with anyone at his office wanting to set up a meeting.

"I will meet with anybody," Palazzo said. "I've met with Democrats, I've met with Republicans, Independents, and everybody in between. You just come on in sit and lets talk and let's do it in a way that's going to be constructive."

Coast resident Kiara Taite says she reached out to Palazzo's office.

"When I talked to them they said that he would be able to meet possibly in a few months, and possibly some of these issues could be moot by then," Taite said.

Even though the congressmen weren't on stage, question and comment cards were collected.

"We will make sure that those get back to the Congressman and Senators," said Laurianne Manchester.

Manchester also spoke with Senator Wicker's office. The possibility of him attending a future town hall wasn't ruled out.

"One of his representatives did meet with us," Manchester said. "It was a very good conversation and we hope that he'll be available to larger groups of his constituents at some point."

As much as the crowd hoped their questions and concerns are heard, they also had another message.

"We want the Congressmen to know that we're not an angry mob, we're constituents....and we just want to know what's going on," Ashley Kittrell said. "We don't want them passing bills in the middle of the night and not finding out about it until the next day. We want someone who is available to talk on the week that he's supposed to be home talking to us."

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