Spanberger Addresses Impeachment, Guns, and More at Henrico Town Hall
*VPM Intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reported this story.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) held a town hall at J.R. Tucker High School in Henrico on Saturday, where her constituents had the opportunity to question her on a wide variety of issues.
One of the main points of contention between the congresswoman and some of her constituents was the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, which she voted in favor of formalizing last month. A slim majority of her congressional district voted for Trump in 2016. An even slimmer majority voted her into office last year.
“I think our district is pretty representative of the American people,” Spanberger said. “It is incumbent upon us as members of Congress to make sure that we are executing on this inquiry in a measured and focused fashion and to bring out facts and evidence and to be responsible in doing so.”
During the event, Trump supporters said the president deserved due process and that the impeachment inquiry fails to presume him innocent until proven guilty. Spanberger drew a differentiation between a criminal court and an inquiry into allegations of potentially impeachable offenses. She said the impeachment inquiry is within the constitutional powers of Congress. Mark Walker, one of her constituents, was not satisfied with her answer.
“She sidestepped a lot of questions on constitutionality like with the impeachment,” Walker said. “She’s all for evidence and constitutional authority but ignores that Congress is abusing their power and using hearsay as evidence.”
Spanberger said during the town hall that Trump can put forth witnesses who can dispute the allegations being made against him, and she said she finds it “deeply concerning” that members of the administration have not answered subpoenas.
“If the president has information that would exonerate him or information that would make clear his version of the circumstance,” she said. “I wish he would focus on bringing that forward rather than attacking career public servants.”
The town hall was an opportunity for Spanberger to cover a large range of other topics with her constituents. She was questioned on climate change, the rising costs of prescription medications and gun control legislation, among other issues. Keith Brisson’s reason for attending the town hall was to discuss protections for gun owners.
“I feel that she sidestepped a lot of the issues, especially with the gun laws,” Brisson said. “I did like a little bit of what she said with the drug policies and some of the legislation she’s doing. I felt really good about some of the things she’s done for veterans in the last year, so she isn’t without some merit.”
The congresswoman faced pressure from both sides of the political spectrum during the event. Townhall attendee Emily Hartman said House Democrats should hold off on ratifying the U.S., Mexico and Canada trade agreement (USMCA) until Senate Republicans bring Democrat bills to a vote. Spanberger rejected her proposition.
“I understand where the congresswoman is coming from,” Hartman said. “But as her constituent, I will be disappointed if this passes without seeing all this legislation get up or down votes.”
Hartman said the USMCA is “leverage” and that Democrats “can’t be bullied by Mitch McConnell anymore,” referring to the GOP Senate Majority leader. Spanberger said the House has passed hundreds of bills that have not been voted on in the Senate, which she called “an issue of leadership” on the upper chamber.
“When we take the time to make bills bipartisan, to seek a bit of common ground, then we’re better representing the vast majority of Americans,” Spanberger said.
The event was Spanberger’s second town hall in Henrico County. The congresswoman has held town hall meetings in all ten counties in her congressional district since she was elected into office in 2018.