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Arizona Rep. McSally Faces Voters In First Town Hall Since Nov. Election

Congresswoman Martha McSally speaking at a town hall in Sahuarita, Arizona on February 23. (Dennis Newman/PNS)
Congresswoman Martha McSally speaking at a town hall in Sahuarita, Arizona on February 23. (Dennis Newman/PNS)
February 24, 2017

SAHUARITA, Ariz. -- Just two weeks after dismissing town halls as "political theatre," Congresswoman Martha McSally met face to face with voters from her swing district in Southern Arizona.

In a meeting that was polite and boisterous, Southern Arizona voters finally got the chance to hear from Rep. Martha McSally and ask her some tough questions.

The congresswoman didn't stray far from Republican party line positions on health care, but offered a more moderate approach to immigration. She also addressed voters' strong opinions on President Trump.

And there were plenty of strong feelings. An estimated 800 people showed up on a workday afternoon, filling up all the seats in the house and leaving a large crowd outside.

Kristen Randall of Indivisible Southern Arizona said McSally often drifted into details and avoided direct answers. Randall wasn't alone, audience members could be heard shouting "answer the question."

"One of the things that really stands out to me is that her rhetoric absolutely does not match her voting record,” Randall observed. "And I'm pretty familiar with her voting record at this point."

The meeting was over in about 90 minutes and afterwards, McSally promised to hold another one soon.

Citizen groups had pressured McSally for weeks to hold a public town hall. Marion Chubon is with the group McSally Take A Stand, which had organized its own event when it appeared none was forthcoming from the congresswoman. McSally declined the invitation to appear at the Take a Stand event, but accepted another offer on the same day in a more conservative part of her district.

"I don't think it's a coincidence at all. It was intentional,” Chubon said. "I think it was intended to confuse her constituents."

The Green Valley News hosted McSally's event. Editor Dan Shearer said planning began weeks ago.

Dennis Newman, Public News Service - AZ