With security in tow, Bergman holds town hall

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, shakes hands with constituents following a town hall on the campus of Bay College in Escanaba Wednesday. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)

ESCANABA — Attendance was high at U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman’s town hall meeting held Wednesday at Bay College in Escanaba where security was prevalent and a lot of heckling also was taking place.

More than 350 people from the region attended the freshman congressman’s first town hall meeting in Escanaba, filling up the Besse Theater and overflowing into a room that was set up with teleconference video and audio.

The event was also heavily attended by campus security and Escanaba Public Safety officers, including the police canine.

Facilitator Laura Coleman, president of Bay College, introduced Bergman, who was standing offstage while she asked the audience to be respectful and orderly.

“Yelling and screaming won’t do any of us any good,” Coleman told the crowd, saying the town hall meeting would be extended a half hour beyond the scheduled hour if everyone was civil.

The Watersmeet congressman concluded his opening remarks by saying “we’re all in this together” even though everyone may look at things differently. He added, he wants to hear what the audience has to say.

Throughout the meeting, comments including sarcastic remarks and jeers at the congressman could be heard while questions were presented by individuals and Bergman made his replies. He often had to remind audience members interrupting him that it was his turn to speak.

The first comment was from a woman who told Bergman he was “a disgrace to the poor.”

More heckling interrupted the congressman as he expressed concerns about many people not having health care and how Obamacare is forcing small businesses to make difficult choices.