Congressman Don Bacon held a town hall meeting Saturday morning at Omaha North Magnet High School.
Empowerment Network founder Willie Barney and William King, founder of radio station “The Boss,” moderated questions from the audience.
Those questions overlapped on a variety of topics, including health care, transgender persons serving in the military, and diversity in the government at a state and federal level. The crowd’s response was mixed between cheers and boos at times.
Rep. Bacon once again asserted that he sees a need to repeal and replace the ACA, and also that no one should lose coverage for a pre-existing condition.
One woman said that she paid 40% of her income toward her ACA plan between the premiums and deductibles. She said her bills now cost tens of thousands of dollars, sobbing as she sat down.
Michael Faue, an attendee, said that he doesn’t feel like the ACA is the problem, and questions how objective the congressman can be since he received government subsidies to fund his premiums.
“They keep saying that premiums go up, but premiums went up before the ACA. They went up after the ACA,” said Faue.
When one woman said she was troubled over the possible dismantling of the EPA, Bacon responded that he saw a need for deregulation in that agency, but believed it should not be dismantled entirely.
Bacon also called for objective data when it comes to transgender individuals serving in the military. He said that if the therapy and medical processes those individuals needed were substantial enough to prevent deployment, that would prevent service just as it would for any other medical reason. He called for a study to determine that need.
Bacon also said he supported a Malcolm X museum in North Omaha. He pointed to the military as an example of diversity, calling it a “color blind organization” that was “based on a meritocracy.”
Robert Anthony, an Air Force serviceman of 20 years, asked Congressman Bacon about military readiness.
“It seems like over the last 10 plus years, funding has went away, downsizing has happened,” said Anthony.
Anthony said he liked Bacon’s stance on funding military preparedness. He said he was happy that he held the town hall and learned from those who both agree and disagree with Bacon’s position.
“I think he handled it respectfully. I think the audience handled it very well. Town halls that you see on the news across the country don’t always go this well,” said Anthony.