McSally Only GOP House Rep. In Arizona To Hold Town Hall

February 24, 2017

Members of Congress across the country are facing hostile crowds of voters at town halls, including here in Arizona.

With us now is KJZZ's Michel Marizco who covered Congresswoman Martha McSally's town hall in Sahuarita on Thursday night.

The loudest reaction in the room came when third grader Mitchell Collins finally got to ask his question.

"Why do you think Betsy DeVos is qualified?" he asked after nearly an hour of holding his arm in the air.

Rep. Martha McSally challenged him back: "Why do you think she’s unqualified?"

"Because she wants guns at schools for protection of grizzlies," Collins said.

Now, it wasn’t as organic as it seemed. Mitchell’s mom helped him come up with the idea of pinning down the Republican congresswoman on whether she supported the newly appointed education secretary. But the response mirrored much of the evening meeting.

Republican congresswoman Martha McSally, after months of criticism for not speaking directly with voters, finally held a town hall with constituents Thursday night and more than 250 people packed the Sahuarita church, and another few hundred stood outside.

All attended to ask McSally very specific questions on everything from President Donald Trump's cabinet choices. "President Trump was elected. He was sworn in on January 20. He does have the prerogative to pick his team," McSally said.

To whether she backed the president’s demand for a border wall and what her own solutions are, which was a much more nuanced answer than people liked.

McSally said she understood that people came to the U.S. to "make a better life for themselves," but that the country needed a modern system that wouldn't lead to "taking away jobs for Americans. So we have to have a smart immigration policy."

According to the political website 538, McSally has voted in line with the president’s publicly stated positions every single time this year.

She’s been criticized for not being open to town halls in southern Arizona. Thursday’s was politically risky as town halls across the country have served as lightning rods for Republican members of Congress.

This district is hotly contested, but most of the questions from the audience were openly critical of the congresswoman and the crowd was flush with "resist" stickers, Planned Parenthood T-shirts and knitted pink so-called pussy hats.

Andre Mixon appreciated her holding the town hall but "there was a lot of dancing around and not really answering the questions. We wanted to know a lot more in regards to her feelings regarding Trump."

McSally holds another meeting Friday, not open to the public. This one at an optics company in Tucson.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflet that McSally's meeting on Friday is not open to the general public.