Constituents voiced concerns with Congressman Steve Womack (R) at a town hall meeting Aug. 28 in Rogers, with some saying their expectations had not been met.
Womack led the meeting at the Adult Wellness Center in Rogers from 5:30-7 p.m., during which he outlined his plan should voters reelect him for Arkansas’s Third District.
When Womack was asked about gun violence, he said he thinks children who are raised in single parent households face a greater risk of committing acts of gun violence. The answer led many constituents to yell at Womack, including one who said they were raised in a single parent household and “turned out just fine.”
Rebecca Hedges, president of Benton County Republican Women, thinks frequent outbursts from the audience distracted from the purpose of the meeting, she said.
“I didn't like the evil yelling - it just killed me,” Hedges said
Hedges supports Womack and enjoyed getting to listen to him, but she wanted people to be more respectful to each other on both sides so that they could have more questions answered.
“I came here tonight to listen to Womack.” Hedges said. “I appreciate Steve. I don’t agree with every little thing he does, but I like his principles.”
The town hall meeting was divided between supporters and those who did not agree with Womack, with some even walking out of the room.
“We may disagree on some issues,” Womack said. “If you guys hate me bad enough, vote me out of office next November.”
Kevin Sembrot, a senior at Bentonville West High School who recently moved to Northwest Arkansas, said he attended the meeting to be more informed on social and political issues in the area.
“This upcoming election will be my first time being able to vote, so I really wanted to listen to Congressman Womack’s positions on some issues,” Sembrot said. “I also wanted to hear other people’s thoughts in the community about important issues.”
Sembrot thinks that Womack provided a good environment for discussion, especially on gun control and the environment, during which time he primarily let constituents voice their concerns.
“I think he gave some great responses,” Sembrot said. “And I think he did a great job of balancing having a friendly environment for discussion.”
When Womack discussed his stance on immigration, which is outlined on his website to have a secure border and develop a long-term immigration policy that encourages lawful behavior, he faced criticism from many constituents.
In response to the criticism of his immigration stance, Womack made the audience laugh by recommending audience members to eat a Snickers bar because “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry.”
Womack told voters that whether for or against him, they have the opportunity to vote in the next election, he said.
Womack will be speaking at a town hall meeting in Harrison on Sept. 3.
The next general election for the Arkansas House of Representatives is Nov. 3, 2020. The Primary is March 3, and the Primary runoff is March 31. Voting takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and voters can find polling locations at www.co.washington.ar.us.