U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne held her first town hall of the new year Monday afternoon in Des Moines to a largely friendly crowd dotted with supporters of President Donald Trump.
The 3rd District congresswoman stood on a step-stool near the front counter at Smokey Row Coffee as she tried to talk over the background noise of coffee machines and customers.
The question-and-answer portion of the event was mostly civil, despite Polk County Republicans’ efforts to “get people there so we can express our displeasure with the sham impeachment & the games the Dems are playing.”
Just a heads up to stop by and support @Axne4Congress if you’ve got some time Monday. The brain trust that is the Polk County Republican Party leadership is trying to take her townhall with constituents over. You’ll know them because they “us” the ones wearing the Trump gear. pic.twitter.com/fhyGreB2Su
— Sean Bagniewski (@bagniewski) January 4, 2020
When a disgruntled audience member shot back at Axne over her defense of the Affordable Care Act, he was met with jeers from Axne supporters who tried to steer the conversation.
“Hey! We’re going to have to keep it down for the other people in the restaurant,” a Smokey Row employee shouted from behind the counter, as Iowans in the audience started to bicker.
But for the most part, the first-term congresswoman was able to get her points across and take a few questions uninterrupted.
Axne stuck up for the ACA, lamenting Republicans in Congress and in the courts trying to “dismantle” former President Barack Obama’s landmark achievement.
She praised the House’s passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, a bipartisan deal Axne said she was “thrilled” to help move forward.
“We had it in the House for six months, we got it in the House working group in June from the administration, and have actively been working on trying to make it the best bill for this country,” said Axne. “I’m excited that the president wanted to open up this agreement to make sure that it worked for America, and that we were able to take the first draft of it and add some pieces on that did a lot for labor.”
In the midst of her first re-election campaign, Axne told the crowd of more than 100 people she would “keep using these sharp elbows to make sure that people know how important Iowa is.”
“I will fight for everything that we need here to put more money back in your pockets, to lower the cost of prescription drugs, give your kids opportunities … and make sure that we bring jobs to these communities,” she said.
Axne appears poised for a rematch this fall with former congressman David Young, who is running to try and retake his former seat. The 3rd District includes Des Moines and its burgeoning suburbs, then heads southwest into a rural, Republican part of the state.
The U.S. House resumes their work in the new year tomorrow.
By Elizabeth Meyer