Below is a slideshow from today’s Town Hall and Recess Rally in Rapid City sponsored by Citizens for Liberty.
Every South Dakota legislator from both parties in the West River South Dakota area was invited and several of them attended today’s rally.
Senator John Thune, Senator Tim Johnson and Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin were invited and we had hoped they would be on hand to answer questions from Rapid City area residents about the proposed government takeover of health care.
Unfortunately none of them attended the event today. Senator Thune had a family reunion East River which had been scheduled before this event was announced, but it was not clear exactly why Senator Johnson and Rep. Herseth Sandlin could not attend.
Each did however send a representative from their staff. West River Regional Director Qusi Al-Haj was on hand to represent and answer questions for Senator Thune. Field Director Rick Hanson was on hand to take questions back to Rep. Herseth Sandlin, but he did not come prepared to answer questions. Legislative Assistant Megan Scott Smith was on hand to represent and answer questions for Senator Johnson.
Questions dealt primarily with HR 3200, the U.S. House version of the health care reform plan since it is the most complete and most well known, although the U.S. Senate has drawn up a couple of plans at the committee level.
After initial introductions and statements, Citizens for Liberty President Gordon Howie advised the crowd that if they wanted to ask a question they should draw a number out of a box which would determine the order in which questions would be asked. A large group quickly formed to draw numbers.
Questions were kept to 30 seconds and answers from representatives of the representatives were two minutes or less. This allowed for as many questions as possible from the audience. Many good questions were asked, both from a perspective for and against government health care, but at the end of an hour, many remained unasked. Howie asked that anyone who did not get an opportunity to ask a question to go to the groups tent and write them down. Citizens for Liberty will provide all questions to all three congressional delegates and will publish them on their website at www.sdcitizens.com when compiled.
There was some occasional discontent from the crowd, but Howie and other members of Citizens for Liberty worked to keep things civil while allowing citizens to express their heart-felt concerns.
Dakota Voice videoed all questions and answers, and those will be available here as they are processed and uploaded to YouTube.
In the meantime, below is a slideshow of some photos from today’s rally.