Thomasville Times Enterprise

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August 20, 2009

Disgruntled crowd confronts Bishop in Bainbridge

BAINBRIDGE — Hundreds of people at a Thursday Bainbridge town hall meeting let U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop know precisely where they stand on proposed health care reform — and it is not with the congressman.

The Albany Democrat read portions of two documents shown in a power-point presentation. As he began reading the third, the audience protested loudly, leading to Bishop threatening to have a woman removed from the Kirbo Regional Center auditorium at Bainbridge College.

“We can read,” a man said loudly. “We’re going to conduct an orderly, respective meeting here,” Bishop, Second District congressman, responded from the stage.

“Are you going to stay long enough to take all of our questions?” another man asked Bishop. The event was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and end at noon. It continued until almost 2 p.m.

“Come on, congressman, let us speak,” a man in the audience said.

“Amen! Amen!” interjected another.

A number of people in the audience stood as they and others continued to express dissatisfaction with the direction the event was taking.

“You’re out of order,” Bishop told the crowd.

“Stop wasting our time,” a man said to the congressman, who told a woman he would have “the sheriff” remove her.

“This is America!” a man shouted.

Bishop continued with the power-point presentation as audience members grumbled audibly.

Two microphones were positioned for citizens to ask questions. Immediately, 14 people lined up at one microphone and 10 at the other, and the lines grew longer and longer.

The first speaker was a woman who presented Bishop with a petition containing 601 signatures from “this little area.” Petitioners strongly oppose any health care reform by the federal government, the woman told Bishop.

“It is time for the federal government to get out of the health care business,” she said.

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