Lehigh Valley

Senator Toomey holds televised town hall

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Senator Pat Toomey held a televised town hall at PBS39 in Bethlehem Thursday night and while Toomey answered questions inside protesters chanted outside.

The discussion hit hot button issues including health care, the debt ceiling, and taxes…

"I think the tax code should be designed to generate as much money as the government absolutely needs while encouraging as much economic growth as possible," said Toomey.

Several of the audience members questioned Toomey on his accessibility.

"This is a fake town hall there is only 50 people here representing 12 million people so I guess my question is what would it take to have  a real town hall with hundreds of people," said one audience member.

Toomey replied," I am willing to do town halls but let's be candid; there are some people who don't want to have a constructive conversation. There are some people that want to have a disruptive event. I'm interested in a conversation."

One audience member was ejected after mentioning a Toomey family member in controversial way in an immigration question.

Afterward, audience members reacted to the town hall.

"You could see that he was passionate when he was answering questions and he wasn't afraid to push back when he felt questions were aimed at causing disruption," said Jessica Banotai.

"I don't think we learned anything that we didn't know. He defended himself a lot and I would have liked to hear more proactive discussion rather than reactive discussion," said Angela Zanelli.

Toomey says since he has been in office he has had 75 town hall meetings in various forms.

Bethlehem police say the man who was ejected was arrested and charged with disrupting a public meeting and disorderly conduct.

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