FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Congressman Tom Rice was in the Pee Dee Thursday night to take part in a town hall event and listen to the concerns and apprehensions of his constituents.
A line was wrapped around the Dr.'s Bruce and Lee Foundation Library in Florence as people waited to go inside to hear Rice speak. The room was at full capacity, and Rice held two separate Town Hall's to hear people.
Some attendees carried signs, one of which said "Please save Affordable Care Act and Social Security," and "I am your Constituent."
Rice said before the event he fully expected people to bring up tough topics, and that he represents the people in his district and knows they are entitled to their own opinion.
"I think people are tired of our immigration laws not being enforced," Rice said. "I think most people don't like Obamacare and, you know, paying a lot of money with high deductibles and high co-pays they can't even use. I think most people recognize we've got to have tax reform to make our economy more competitive."
Rice said Obamacare has a lot of taxes that are funding it, and he plans to repeal those and is working on finding funding to replace it.
Constituent Jean Grosser said that's the sole reason she came tonight.
"It's the tens of millions of people who are likely to lose their health insurance if we do not fix and expand the Affordable Care Act," Grosser said. I'm a college professor and work with several students who struggle to keep their health insurance."
During the town hall, Rice continually asked people to stop yelling and to give everyone a fair chance. One attendee, Murray Jordan, walked away feeling that way.
"There were those who came to be rude and disruptive and some of them had excellent points and questions, but they couldn't ask a good question and shut up so the person who had the answer could give them the answer," Jordan said.
Rice said in his lifetime, this is the first time he has seen this sort of protesting and this much concern about the new office.
"I really appreciate him coming to talk with us, I really do," said Joyce Goodchild, who came from Murrells Inlet to listen to Rice. "It must be very difficult to hear all of us that have so many problems and disgusted with this administration."
Rice is speaking Friday morning at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce's legislative breakfast. His next town hall event will be in Myrtle Beach in April.