The theme of U.S. Rep. Randy Weber’s first town hall event in many months Saturday seemed to be one of bipartisanship.
“We may not all have our act together, but you bet we all better act together,” he said in closing.
The Friendswood Republican stopped in League City on Saturday as the second stage of a three-town hall sprint across his district, beginning in Lake Jackson and ending in Beaumont, speaking on a wide range of issues, from healthcare to freedom of religion to gun control, among many others.
The town hall featured a few tense moments, such as when Rhonda Hart, the mother of Kimberly Vaughan, who was among the 10 people killed when a shooter opened fire at Santa Fe High School, asked Weber why he wouldn’t support background checks. But, on the whole, Weber seemed content to emphasize areas of agreement and compliment those in attendance.
Congressional staffers before the meeting started passing out comment cards and told residents they could write any sort of question they’d like the congressman to answer.
Residents responded to the prompt with a wide variety of questions, from one who asked about getting more research ships for Texas A&M University at Galveston to another who asked whether Weber would create some sort of ban for outside organizations that try to enforce separation of church and state in communities.
“These anti-God harassers are coming into our communities and telling us we have to remove our creches,” the resident said. “I’d like to see some legislation about it.”
While Weber agreed that he was a big supporter of the 10th Amendment, he also added that there wouldn’t be a way to settle that dispute in the context of a town hall meeting.
And, when Hart asked Weber about background checks, he told her that his district was very pro-Second Amendment.
But, after briefly opposing her stance, he quickly mentioned that he did question federal officials about the recent decision not to pursue charges against Dimitrious Pagourtzis, the man charged in the Santa Fe High School shooting.
Weber also told attendees he was keeping a close eye on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed coastal barrier plan.
Finally, when asked about issues and challenges unique to his district, Weber told attendees he thought transportation, hurricane protection and flood mitigation were some of the most important.
“Drainage is a big deal,” he said. “Because of bipartisanship in the Texas House delegation, we were able to pass Hurricane Harvey recovery funds in record time.”
Another tense moment came toward the end of the meeting, when Teresa Kumelski asked Weber whether he planned to vote in favor of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, something he will have to decide this week.
Weber told Kumelski he hadn’t yet had time to review that with his staff and didn’t have a position, upon which several attendees asked why not since the vote is this week.
But, as the town hall continued, Weber drifted back to his position on bipartisanship.
Just before he closed, several residents asked Weber and his staff whether more regular town halls were in the future.
“Yes, I would hope so,” Weber said. “We will see how this goes, the one before this was not well-attended. We had a lot of discussion on the format of this.”