Congressman Steve Pearce came back to his district (CD2) for a town hall event this past Saturday and ProgressNow NM was there and broadcasting LIVE on Facebook because he held it in Ruidoso, a village of 8,000 people two hours away from Las Cruces, the largest city in his district. Local news did a pretty apt job covering the event and people’s feelings about having to be so far from home, as seen here in this headline:
Pearce Drowned Out By Boos At Times During Town Hall That Drew 300 https://t.co/7tOTkiw9Ux
— KRWG-TV/FM (@krwg) March 5, 2017
If you watch the video below, the majority of the town hall was dominated by real questions being asked by folks from all over CD2 only to have those questions blown off or answered incompletely. This led to pretty consistent outbursts from the audience.
Pearce and, more shockingly, his staff have been dodging constituents ever since the inauguration as more and more people started feeling unsettled as a result of the Trump presidency. Local Indivisible groups from around southern New Mexico had attempted on numerous occasions to schedule appointments with Pearce staff at his Las Cruces office to no avail. They stepped up their actions with large demonstrations on back-to-back weeks in February.
After not getting any responses from Pearce’s staff about scheduling meetings, Indivisible groups from around CD2 held demonstartaions outside his Las Cruces office. ProgressNow NM staffer Lucas Herndon covered both events and streamed live.
The congressman did show up on time Saturday morning and stayed talking with folks for about two hours. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of those in attendance seemed to oppose Pearce or at least most of his political stances. Even those who were heard to cheer at some of his comments asked him tough questions on his stance of defunding the Affordable Care Act and supporting its repeal without a replacement plan in place.
There were lots of great questions asked with very minimal good responses given throughout the town hall. What was really interesting though was that once Pearce realized that ProgressNow NM was filming he took not one but THREE cheap shots at us for our coverage of the demonstrations at his Las Cruces office.
You can jump to those moments at 53:30, 1:00:00, and 2:13:30 if you want to see his obvious aggravation.
We’ve highlighted some of the best moments in the video below if you’re curious about how the Congressman feels about the myriad issues on people’s minds:
Abortion and reproductive health: 51:00 and 1:50:00. In summation, he still favors defunding Planned Parenthood because he believes the now-proven-to-be-false “undercover videos” and can’t seem to accept that conservatively run “pregnancy crisis centers” are not the same thing as a fully functioning medical provider. Listen as he tells women with real stories “I appreciate your viewpoint but let’s move on.”
Environment and Conservation: 10:00 – 35:00. The first three questions of the Town Hall centered around renewable energy, public lands, and national parks and monuments. Basically, the congressman feels that there’s too much “unusable” land in New Mexico and that it should only be used for extracting resources.
Trump as President, foreign policy issues: 36:00. Pearce pulls a classic political move by both praising Trump’s address to Congress and calling it “more reserved” while also saying that Trump’s more egregious rhetoric doesn’t reflect his beliefs or those of the party. Which is it?!
Immigration: 1:00:00 and 1:22:00. Pearce has spoken out publicly against Trump’s border wall, but repeated his vague calls to “secure the border.” He also addressed the DACA program and “path to citizenship” ideas.
Pearce is the only Republican in New Mexicos’s Federal delegation and has long faced contention from Dona Ana County residents who feel like their voice in Congress isn’t being heard.
But, after witnessing the general discontent with Pearce that seemed present from progressives from other counties AND even dissension among his traditional supporters, it will be interesting to see how the congressman responds (or doesn’t) over the next few months.