Large crowd fills room for Rep. Tom Rice town hall in Florence

Hundreds came out to a town hall meeting with Congressman Tom Rice Thursday evening in Florence.

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Hundreds came out to a town hall meeting with Congressman Tom Rice Thursday evening in Florence.

The line to get into the meeting at several points wrapped around the Dr. Bruce and Lee Library downtown. Once things got started, they didn’t slow down for several hours.

“It did get a little bit raucous on both sides tonight,” said Rice constituent Tom Stickler. They stayed that way too, as Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC7) took questions from his constituents.

Many held up signs with slogans supporting various policies, from education, to immigration, to transgender rights. Healthcare was a topic revisited time and time again Thursday night.

“What are you going to do about this?” asked one attendee.

“My solution,” answered Rep. Rice, “What I’m going to look for is the least disruptive solution that will provide a mechanism for people who can’t afford health insurance. I’m not interested in paying subsidies to able-bodied people who can buy their own health insurance.”

Others had questions about recent executive orders by President Trump, and the powers the administration is giving to Customs and Border Patrol agents.

“Are you comfortable with that kind of behavior?” another man asked.

“We have got to stop the flow of illegal immigration,” said the congressman.

Many though, weren’t happy with that answer.

“I wonder if you’ve heard of the concept of net immigration,” the man shot back. “It’s zero! Immigration is not a problem!” The crowd clapped and cheered, others booed.

Education came to the forefront as well, as Liz Burgfeld and her son had a pointed question about school choice.              .

“Do you have any shame,” Burgfeld asked, her son beside her holding a sign. “When you look at my kids and other kids in this room and you announce that you’re OK with de-funding public schools?”

Rep. Tom Rice answers a questions from Liz Burgfeld and her son at Thursday night's town hall meeting in Florence
Rep. Tom Rice answers a questions from Liz Burgfeld and her son at Thursday night’s town hall meeting in Florence

“I want people to have their money to choose what school they want to go to,” Rice responded, the notably Conservative members seated at the front of the room loudly agreed.

While most of the over two-hour meeting remained peaceful, Tom Stickler summed it up well.

“A lot of people are really upset over the political situation right now,” he said.

Well over a hundred people were left in line when the small room in the library filled up just before the meeting started. Afterward though, Congressman Rice invited the overflow crowd to replace the first crowd and continued taking questions.