Rep. Pearce answers tough questions at Las Cruces town hall
Congressman Steve Pearce visited the Borderland Saturday to hold a town hall event at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
The event was contentious at moments and reflective at other times. Pearce took the time to tell the audience of more than 100 what he’s been doing on Capitol Hill. He also took questions from the audience.
The Republican lawmaker was asked about everything from immigration to education.
“The question about immigration is probably the most significant one. Both parties have used this as a issue to their own advantage,” Pearce told the crowd. “We can't just keep doing what we're doing. We need some sort of reform.”
The congressman was sharply criticized by several audience members.
Las Cruces resident Jake Smith asked Pearce about what Congress is doing to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
“I think a lot of people want to see what's in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Smith said
Smith said bills have come to the floor of the House to demand for the president to release his tax returns.
“His answer was, ‘I don't think Congress is going to do it,’ but he's actually part of the problem because he is one of the people in Congress who voted against the bill that would have required Donald Trump to release his taxes,” Smith said.
Both Pearce and people asking questions were interrupted numerous times by people chanting out against Trump as well as booing. Some Trump supporters KFOX14 spoke with accused the rabble-rousers of being paid protesters, to which the demonstrators chanted, “Where’s my check?”
This town hall was one of numerous events across the country that Republican lawmakers have held that have turned contentious.
One of the youngest audience members was a seventh-grader from Sierra Middle School. He asked Pearce about education cuts.
“I was not satisfied with his answer and when I noticed today was that he wasn't answering a lot of questions. He's kind of darting around them,” Christopher Neal-Wallace told KFOX14 afterward.
Despite the tension, people who attended the town hall event said they are happy the congressman decided to come to Las Cruces.
“I think this is wonderful that we finally had a town hall here. I really respect the fact that the congressman is going to come here and take the flack and answering the questions. I think he did a good job and presented his side of the issues. I don't necessarily agree with his side but the fact that he was willing to come here and stay this positions is a very positive move,” Smith said.
“I was pleased to see he was coming. People are very disappointed that he didn't say he was going to come. This is the largest city in the congressional district even though it's a huge district in New Mexico,” Las Cruces resident Nan Rubin said. “Maybe he'll pay more attention to some of the things that are going on when he meets us face-to-face.”
This was Pearce’s fourth town hall in his district in less than two months. Most recently, he held an event in Hobbs and a telephone town hall that had more than 10,000 participants.