Residents React To Senator Cotton’s Town Hall

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- Republican Senator Tom Cotton spoke to a room filled with more than 2,000 people from around the state of Arkansas during a town hall in Springdale on Wednesday (Feb. 22).

Supporters and opponents of Senator Cotton were in attendance, which is something Cotton said is necessary for a fair discussion.

"They're all Arkansans. They're all from Arkansas. I'm happy to hear from all Arkansans from this part of the state or the other side," Cotton said.

Many in opposition to both Cotton and President Trump held signs addressing deportation and refugees. Some said the town hall was a good way to get their voices heard, while others thought their voices were drowned out.

"It's absolutely out of control as far as actually exchanging any information," Cotton supporter Henry Gresham said. "I mean it really was a waste of everybody's time. It's a wonderful public demonstration of concerned citizens, but a waste of time as far as exchanging any information."

Kati McFarland was one of the audience members who asked Cotton a question. She suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and said that without the Affordable Care Act, she will die. She asked if Cotton could assure her that she would receive treatment if the Affordable Care Act is abolished.

"I was hoping for a direct answer but in lieu of that I would like to put a human face on it. The only thing I really have is my story and if I can do that tell it put a face on things, maybe that will help," McFarland said.

Even though she was one of the few who got to ask a question, she said she was not satisfied with the answer she received.

"I really appreciate the feed back from everyone who came except the senator to be quite honest," McFarland said. "He really didn't give me a clear answer, he really didn't commit on any replacement measures. He just said that he just reiterated that if you lose your coverage today you have protection. Well that wasn't what I asked."

People opposed to Cotton said they agreed with McFarland saying the Senator was not answering their questions. Gresham said he believes Cotton expected the feedback he was going to get at the meeting.

Cotton addressed questions about many topics including the Affordable Care Act, the President's proposed wall and Betsy DeVos. His responses were often met with criticism from the crowd.

More than 2,000 people were inside of the town hall, while hundreds remained outside after the fire marshal declared maximum capacity. People outside were watching a live stream of the meeting.

Linda Evans said she drove around 50 miles from Madison County to attend the town hall. She said the most frustrating part was waiting in a long line and still not getting in.

"There are a lot of people at retired age and we watch the news and when something like this comes up we want to go, we want to keep informed about the issues that are going on in our country and to me things aren't going to well," Evans said.

Cotton said he plans to answer anyone who felt they weren't heard. He said he plans to achieve that through phone calls, emails and letters.


  • Sydney Zane

    Not a huge fan of Mr. Cotton, but I do commend him on actually showing up to such a massive town hall. Many of his peers in the Senate refuse to do the same. He may not represent me the way I’d like to be represented, but at least he has bigger balls than a lot of his buddies.

  • ozarkobjectivefodder

    Kati McFarland’s debilitating disease is not only serious, but deadly. Her dilemma should wake each and every one of us up. We have an obligation insuring that our loved ones, our family and friends have not just affordable healthcare access, but have established coverage for all medical needs regardless of class, income or social status. We all know people who’ve succumbed to their demise ultimately because they did not have adequate access to medical care. Bone-marrow and heart transplants come to mind. Collectively, as a society, Kati is just as important to the survival of the species as any child with a terminally ill sickness, or an adult with a mild head-cold. Love one, love all. Deny one, deny all. No American citizen should live without access to healthcare. Kati is an inspiration to all of us, or should be.

  • Randy Ingle

    I have always gotten a reasonable answer from Cotton via email. I do commend him for having a town hall meeting although in those with hundreds of voices rising from the crowds I question if anything positive can come from them. For those wanting better answers I do suggest contacting him via email.

  • Arkansarge (@arkansarge)

    This was a waste of time. Here you have a group laughingly called “Ozark Indivisible” claiming to be “patriots” representing all people, yet go to their Twitter and Facebook pages and see this leftist group for what they really are – small-time agitators throwing a hissy-fit because Crooked Hillary lost. I’m quite sure Sen. Cotton already knows the vast majority of Arkansans support him and President Trump. These clowns and goons came out of the woodwork to make asses of themselves and got their 15 minutes of fame but are now already forgotten. In fact, survey the state and 90% or more won’t even know who these losers are.

  • Kay Miller

    If you read Kati’s donation page, she doesn’t have obamacare, she’s on Cobra. She is asking for help in paying 18 months of Cobra premiums. She is receiving treatments out of state, which obamacare wouldn’t cover.

  • tasdgs

    I’m glad that Cotton showed up to the event. I just wish that the audience was more mature in handling themselves. After seeing the display, from the crowd, one then wonders why kids are out of control and disrespectful. If they see the adults doing it then they assume that they can do it also.

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