Tensions Run High at Southerland Town Hall in Bay County - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Tensions Run High at Southerland Town Hall in Bay County

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Tensions ran high inside the Bay County Government Center, Monday as Congressman Steve Southerland addressed a packed room of constituents.

The town hall format was no match to passionate citizens who weren't afraid to show both their disdain and support for the Congressman's handling of the recent government shut down.

It was an intense sight as voices were raised along with concerns; an indication on a much smaller scale of the attitude of the American people, according to Southerland, who said he's never seen the country more divided.

It didn't take long for the name calling.

"Stupid, white, fool-headed people," yelled one female from the audience.

The passionate outcries continued, Monday, as Southerland, fresh off the government shutdown, sought to address his constituents.

Perhaps in a snapshot of America's divisiveness, the impassioned room took on Southerland and each other. Law enforcement stepped in on several occasions.

"I would rather take this over apathy. Our founding fathers never imagined a people that just wouldn't care," said Southerland.

Last Thursday, Southerland was one of 144 House Republicans who voted to keep the government closed.

It's a move that would have required America default on its debt, but with good reason, according to Southerland.

"I think it fulfilled my promise that I would do everything I could to protect constituents from a bad law," said Southerland.

That law is the Affordable Healthcare Act, at the center of the budget battle and a pivot point of action for some Republicans who strongly oppose the Obama administration's signature legislation.

After 16 days of shut down, town hall attendees seemed anxious and fearful of history repeating itself this January if a spending deal cannot be reached.

"I'm optimistic that our budget committees in the house and the senate are going to work together to find the proper frame work to address our biggest underlying issue and that is our spending," said Southerland.

While Southerland said compromise is possible, the potential of another 24 billion dollar shutdown is a glaring reminder that action must be taken.

Southerland also addressed the 1400 temporary jobs at Lynn Haven's "General Dynamics", which is being used as an Affordable Healthcare call center. He stated he's not against the jobs, but would rather have a more permanent employment solution for these individuals.