Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Tom Cotton town hall

The crowd of over 2,000 waved red cards to signal disapproval as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) spoke at his town hall in Springdale, Ark. (Photo: Alex Thompson/Twitter)

'My Husband is Dying. What Kind of Insurance Do You Have?': GOP Town Halls Erupt

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was one of several Republican politicians confronted by outraged crowds on Wednesday

Nika Knight Beauchamp

In a tense, public showdown over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that is being echoed at contentious Republican town halls across the country, a distraught woman at Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) town hall on Wednesday stood up and told Cotton: "My husband is dying."

The woman said that her husband is suffering from Alzheimers and dementia, and her voice shook with emotion as she said: "And you want to stand there with him at home, expect us to be calm, cool, and collected? Well, what kind of insurance do you have?"

The crowd erupted in a standing ovation.

Cotton held the town hall at the insistence of Ozark Indivisible, one of the many groups nationwide inspired by the Indivisible Guide, demonstrating that public pressure is making a difference in forcing reluctant politicians to speak to voters who seek to hold them to account in the Trump era.

Later in the evening, another woman took the microphone and told Cotton that without the ACA, she would die. "Will you commit to replacements in the same way that you committed to the repeal?" she asked.

And in another widely shared exchange, a seven-year-old boy named Toby asked Cotton why he supported Trump's wall on the U.S.-Mexico border over funding PBS. "He's deleting all the parks and PBS Kids, just to make a wall," Toby said. "He shouldn't do all that stuff for just a wall."

That same evening in Louisiana and New Jersey, similar scenes unfolded as voters confronted their own Republican members of Congress.

At a town hall in Metairie, La., Sen. Bill Cassidy presented a Republican healthcare plan to replace the ACA and constituents turned their backs in protest. One woman charged that her young daughter would lose her healthcare under such a plan.

"This child in front of me is completely uninsurable. This is not an abstraction. This child is uninsurable under this plan!" she shouted.

Hundreds of protesters also greeted Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) at his town hall in Branchburg, N.J., in a chanting crowd that at one point even featured "protest llamas":

Faced with the prospect of actually meeting with constituents angry about the country's far-right turn under President Donald Trump, many Republicans are still choosing to avoid public town halls.

One such politician on Wednesday was Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), who dodged a town hall that saw a crowd of 1,800 turn out in the hopes of hearing him speak, and instead attended a private fundraising dinner:

As the contentious scenes continue to unfold across the country for the rest of the Congressional recess this week, follow along under the hashtag #ResistanceRecess:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Nearly 90,000 Small Businesses in US Expected to Close After Senate GOP Kills Main Street Relief Bill

"The fate of these small businesses," said one advocacy group, "will be tied to those senators who voted down this lifeline today."

Julia Conley ·

Documents Show Baby Formula Maker Enriched Shareholders Amid Deadly Bacteria Outbreak

"Abbott chose to prioritize shareholders by issuing billions of dollars in stock buybacks instead of making productive investments," said one economist.

Jake Johnson ·

'She Can Win If We Stand With Her': Sanders to Rally for Cisneros in Texas

"Her opponent, one of the very few anti-choice Democrats in Congress, is funded by over a million dollars in corporate contributions from Big Oil companies," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·

Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo