Durbin won't hold town hall meetings

August 12, 2009 (CHICAGO) Many of those meetings have been marked by shouting and disorder in other parts of the country.

Senator Durbin says he will promote the president's healthcare reform plan in smaller meetings around the state. Like so many other Democrats, Durbin has determined that town hall meetings are not the best way to promote the White House backed reform.

For now, at least, it appears Republicans are making the best of the town hall format.

When the Naperville Chamber of Commerce discussed healthcare reform there were no signs of disorder. The meeting, featuring Congress members Mark Kirk and Judy Biggert, was private. There was no general public or media. After it began there were plenty cops and private security. Then, according to Kirk, there was the ideological factor.

"A lot of people who are coming to town halls agree with Judy and I on healthcare," said Rep. Mark Kirk, (R) Northern Suburbs.


"Some protesters either side of the aisle are really using this to play political games and it really is a shame," said Rep. Judy Biggert, (R) Western Suburbs.

As demonstrations have erupted at healthcare town halls around the country, many were forced to adjourn. On the sign outside one congressman's office, a swastika was painted after a meeting.

Democrats accuse Republicans with organizing town hall protesters and admit that those opposed to the president's reform plan have outnumbered supporters of it.

"Republicans are engaging in a smear campaign, misleading and trying to scare voters. But at the end of the day the President's policies and plan to help insure every American is going to win," said Kathleen Strand, Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin cited the recent disorder and vowed not to sponsor any healthcare-related town hall meetings.

Kirk, who is running for the United States Senate and opposes the president's reform plan, says he'll use the town hall format as frequently as possible in the coming weeks.

"The voice that we hear at these town halls is the legitimate voice of the American people," said Kirk. "Our job as responsible legislators is to not disrupt anyone. Our job is to offer the best alternative healthcare reform bill."

In a news release on Tuesday afternoon, the Senate Democratic campaign committee noted that Congressman Kirk had received over $300,000 in campaign contributions from the insurance industry and that during the ten years Kirk had been a member of congress healthcare costs had risen one hundred 11 percent.

Congressman Kirk and other Republicans say the president's plan gives the government too much involvement in the doctor-patient relationship and is not worth its one trillion dollar price tag.

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