U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho addressed questions and concerns during a town hall meeting hosted by the African American Accountability Alliance at the Alachua County Health Department Monday night.
Darry Lloyd, president of the 4As, addressed the crowd of about 30 community members and explained that the discussion with Rep. Yoho would provide a platform for constituents to ask questions and express their needs.
“Our representative is here to talk with us and share what’s going on from his experience,” Lloyd said. “And to listen to us about what we can do to assist him and what he can do to assist us.”
Yoho said people want to be self-determinant, self-governing and self-reliant, and that they want a better life for themselves and for their children.
He also said the government is out of control and spending must be stopped before matters get worse.
Following his opening statement, the 4as asked Yoho a series of prepared questions in which they voiced concerns about the actions he has taken while in office, as well as the statements he’s made.
Most of the discussion was focused on his support to defund the Affordable Care Act and his refusal to raise the debt ceiling.
He said that raising the debt ceiling won’t help the US economy improve.
“If raising the debt ceiling was the answer, we wouldn’t have this discussion because we’ve raised it 14 times since 2001,” Yoho said, “and all we’ve done is gain more debt and more interest on our debt.”
During a question and answer session, the moderator cited a statistic from the census bureau stating that more than 16 percent of Yoho’s district does not have health insurance.
Yoho responded by saying that the option of Medicaid and the emergency room exist, both of which have been taxing the system.
“We’ve got the best healthcare in the world bar non,” Yoho said. “What I feel we need to fix is the delivery system.”
Yoho said the Affordable Care Act has many flaws, including the lack of an income verification process. He said it shouldn’t have been presented until all of the kinks were worked out.
Audience members were allowed to ask Yoho direct questions at the end of the session.
One woman said that the Affordable Care Act would help her to attain healthcare, as she is currently uninsured.
Others asked why if he supports fiscal responsibility, he opted for a government shut down.
Yoho stuck by his ideals and reiterated that he was elected under his current platform and said it would be a disservice to those who elected him if he changed his views.
He said that those who elected him wanted him to act as he has.
“If that changes to where people say, ‘I don’t want you to do that,’ I won’t run again,” Yoho said.
Alachua County School Board Member, Eileen Roy, attended the meeting and said she appreciated Yoho’s effort to reach out to the community but was not satisfied with his answers.
“I’m glad he had the courage to come here and face some tough questions,” Roy said. “I was not satisfied with his answers. He had a lot of statements that were flat out wrong.”
However, Yoho said Americans have always been good at coming together, specifically referencing the aftermath of Sept. 11.
“There wasn’t a white American; there wasn’t a black American; there wasn’t Republicans, Democrats, liberals or conservatives — we’re all Americans,” he said. “I’m telling you — actually I’m imploring you — we need to have that moment now.”
Yoho will be up for reelection in 2014.