The mood was edgy and angry in a town hall meeting held tonight by Lakeland-based U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, but a New York Times reporter covering the event praised Ross on Twitter for his handing of the “heated, passionate and determined crowd.”

The Town Hall by Rep. Dennis Ross in FL is over. WOW. That was a heated, passionate, angry and determined crowd. Kudos to Ross for doing it.

— Lizette Alvarez (@LizetteScribe) February 21, 2017

Miami-based reporter Lizette Alvarez contributed 16 paragraphs and a 16-minute video to a roundup article about what constituents told four Republican members of Congress during town hall-style meetings around the country today.

[box]News links:

  • New York Times article, including video interviews with audience members
  • Orlando Sentinel article, including video interviews with two audience members from Lakeland, Frank Mazuca and Richard Dempsey
  • Los Angeles Times article[/box]

    The New York Times article called Ross “one of the most conservative members of Congress and an enthusiastic defender of Mr. Trump” and noted, “There was little that Mr. Ross could or would say to placate this crowd of mostly Democrats who packed the room.”

    It added, “A few supporters of Mr. Ross walked out, saying they were upset that he was unable to talk without catcalls.”

    When Ross declared, “We will do a repeal and replace of Obamacare,” several in the audience demanded to know, “What’s the plan?”

    At Rep. Dennis Ross Town Hall in Clermont and the crowd is very heated over Obamacare. Lots of boos at repeal and replace

    — Lizette Alvarez (@LizetteScribe) February 21, 2017

    A Los Angeles Times reporter covering tonight’s meeting counted 250 people, one comfort dog, 21 questions (three in support of Ross) and 56 minutes elapsed time. He noted that Ross learned “that winning an election with 58% of the vote is no indication of how the crowd will shape up at a town hall.”

    The reporter, John Cherwa (a deputy sports editor and adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida), also noted, “Ross stuck to the party script except to say that he didn’t always condone ‘or defend what the president is saying or tweeting.’ ”

    Ross’ tweets on tonight’s meeting praised the large turnout as a sign of “what democracy is all about,” thanked a questioner for asking about separation of powers and gave a shout out to the veteran who led the Pledge of Allegiance.

    It’s standing room only at tonight’s town hall in Clermont! This is what democracy is all about. Thank you to everyone attending. pic.twitter.com/nOqLvsiswM

    — Dennis Ross (@DennisRossSEU) February 21, 2017

    Great question at tonight’s town hall about the Separation of Powers. We must maintain our system of checks and balances in our government.

    — Dennis Ross (@DennisRossSEU) February 21, 2017

    Thank you to everyone who attended my town hall meeting tonight in Clermont! I appreciated the discussion and all those who turned out!

    — Dennis Ross (@DennisRossSEU) February 21, 2017

    Thank you Captain Walden for your service to our country and for leading the Pledge at my town hall. #bluewaternavyvietnamveteransact

    — Dennis Ross (@DennisRossSEU) February 22, 2017

    SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com


    Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your Thoughts On This? (Comments are moderated; first and last name are required.)