State Rep. Paul Clymer faced a small but cantankerous audience Thursday night when he held a town meeting in the James A. Michener Library in Quakertown.
People were angry about school taxes, teachers, school boards, out-of-control pensions, Common Core, illegal immigrant children coming into Pennsylvania and the federal government in general.
More than once, some demanded that Clymer “lead the charge” and complained that he is not showing enough leadership on their behalf – especially on education issues.
Rather than engage in arguments, he mostly just listened during the meeting, which lasted about 90 minutes. He may have been beat up a bit, but he remained calm and seemed unruffled.
Clymer asked people to identify themselves before speaking, but many just blurted out comments – while others were talking.
A few examples:
“We’ve lost our sovereignty as a state.”
“We’re sick of this stuff, it’s obscene.”
“They’re sexualizing our kindergarten children.”
When a woman said “they’re turning us into a third-world nation,” another said: “We already are.”
When several people were speaking at once, which they did often, Clymer said: “Now wait a minute, one at a time. I’ll call on you. You have to raise your hand.”
When several continued talking at the same time Clymer was talking, one female shouted: “Quiet! Please!”
At times, the behavior of some in the crowd the crowd verged on being disrespectful to an elder statesman of Pennsylvania politics.
The 77-year-old Clymer has served in the state House of Representatives since 1981.
A Republican who represents Bucks County’s 145th District, his long career in state politics will end Nov. 30. He decided not to seek another term this year.
The two people who hope to win Clymer’s seat in November were in the audience: Democrat Karen Chellew of East Rockhill Township and Republican Craig Staats of Richland Township.
Clymer, who resides in West Rockhill Township, said he has endorsed Staats.
While he meets with many organizations, Clymer said the town meeting was the first such public meeting he’s done in two years.
Asked why he bothered having such a meeting so late in his last term, Clymer said the issues are very important and people are paying him to represent them until Nov. 30.
At the end of the meeting he promised: “We’ll look into these issues. Just bear with us and we’ll get the job done.”
About 30 people attended.
Clymer, who wore an American flag tie, removed his sport coat before the meeting started.
He began it with a trivia question, asking what two constitutional rights were being exercised by everyone at the meeting.
They were the right of assembly for grievances against government and free speech.
He then asked everyone to rise, face the flag in the front of the room and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.