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There were two police officers standing guard near the double doors of the Glenn Miller Ballroom where Jared Polis spoke on Friday night.
The U.S. Congressional Representative held his town hall meeting in the Glenn Miller Ballroom from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Members of the audience were allowed to ask questions after Polis spoke. The crowd of about 400 attendees was energetic, but mostly respectful. Most people at the meeting had been braced for chaos similar to what has already occurred across the country.
On Thursday night in Thousand Oaks, California, for instance, a man bit off another person’s pinky finger at a health care reform rally, according to the Associated Press.
Many people in the crowd echoed some of the more controversial questions seen on major news outlets. People asked Polis whether any money would be going to abortion clinics, and others passionately stated that they want to be able to keep the health care plans they already have.
“If you’re going to oppose a bill, please oppose it because of what’s in it,” Polis said, “not because of something or some information that’s not in it.”
The main complaint circulating the ballroom was that people were still coming away with more questions than they feel they had answers.
“I am dissatisfied with it. The association with low socio-economic status and a high mortality rate are very scary today,” said Rachel Harris, 19, a senior sociology major, of the health care situation.
Nurse Patti Liceata, 52, said she has been a nurse for 26 years and doesn’t have health insurance. Liceata said she has two children with ADD medications that cost her $300 and has stopped taking her own medications because she just cannot afford them anymore.
“I’ve seen people die,” Liceata said. “I’ve discharged people who were sick because there was no health insurance. I can’t tell you how many times I put someone in a cab to nowhere.”
Others echoed Liceata’s concerns about health care.
“All we hear about are the crazy people on TV,” said Kim Cohen, 53, who wore a shirt that said “Health Care Reform Voter.”
Cohen said that she volunteered for President Obama’s campaign and feels disappointed by Obama and Washington.
Congressman Polis was pleased with how the event went.
“I thought it was great. Particularly to get feedback from college students to take back to Washington,” Polis said afterward.
When Polis said he was not there to “preach moral issues to, but to listen,” there were mixed responses.
Maggie Stewart, a biology student from the University of Minnesota Morris Campus said, “I think he did a good job and was happy he didn’t preach to us.”
Preaching aside, Cohen said she was disappointed with Washington and President Obama, particularly because she was an Obama volunteer when he was still campaigning and lately the public option on health care reform is seeming less likely.
“This is not a Republican-Democrat issue. It’s a moral issue…this is wrong”, Cohen said, “you’ve got to dance with the one who brung ya…He’s not losing Republicans, he’s losing the people who knocked on doors for him…and we feel thrown under the bus.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Andrea Rael at <firstname.lastname@example.org>