DUNWOODY, Ga. — U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia’s 6th District hosted a town hall Saturday focusing on her recent gun control and veterans medical treatment legislation.
Some constituents came to Dunwoody High School wearing orange to signal awareness for Gun Violence Prevention Month. At least one resident, though, wore peach to represent their frustration with the president, holding a sign reading, “Impeach Trump” before the town hall began.
After her thin election victory last fall over incumbent Karen Handel, McBath promised four town halls before her next election in 2020.
McBath preached bipartisanship, pointing to her recent bipartisan co-sponsored bills that have passed in the House of Representatives, including two bills requiring universal background checks for almost all gun purchases. These bills passed in February, but have since stalled in the Senate.
McBath lost her son, Jordan Davis, to gun violence in 2012 when he was shot and killed in Florida. Gun violence prevention measures have been key issues for her since running for the Georgia House of Representatives in 2015.
But at this town hall, most questions she fielded were about transportation issues, bipartisanship at the federal and local levels, climate change and possible impeachment hearings for President Trump.
McBath was also asked about what she could do for veterans, especially after the Atlanta VA Medical Center was downgraded in October from a three star facility to one star out of a possible five.
When she visited the facility, she said she was torn apart by what she saw. Two veterans have committed suicide there, women veterans were unable to get mammograms and the downgraded rating has made it more difficult to recruit medical staff, she said. She has worked with Sen. Johnny Isakson to get more support for the hospital and veterans affairs centers around the country, she said.
One resident asked why McBath has not vocally supported impeachment hearings.
“I am furious. I am absolutely furious about what’s happening in this country,” McBath said. “There’s no doubt in our mind that there has been obstructive behavior by this administration in concealing the truth.”
But she emphasized that this would be a process and that process would take time and diligence on the part of the judiciary committee.
“At the end of the day the chips will fall where they may,” she said. “If it comes to the point of impeachment inquiries we will do our job.”
Many residents also had transportation concerns, particularly related to new Georgia Department of Transportation projects on I-285 and Ga. 400. There has been anxiety from residents related to the new Express Lanes Project from the department, which could add new toll lanes to a large stretch of I-285 and 400. The project has already prompted Dunwoody residents to create a change.org petition to end the project with more than 1,000 signatures as of June 10.
McBath responded that she is well aware of Metro Atlanta’s traffic struggles, and she has written letters to officials at the Georgia DOT and other state officials on this issue. But those types of changes occur at the local and state levels, she said, and she encouraged those in the room to make their voices heard to their local representatives.
She finished the hour-long session by returning to gun control in schools. Some constituents at the town hall were concerned that Dunwoody High did not have noticeable metal detectors and other reinforcements to keep children safe, but McBath was more concerned with the growing normalization of schools acting as “fortresses” for students.
“Our children don’t go to school to be put in an academic prison,” she said. “Our children go to school to learn.”
McBath was the first Democrat elected to represent the district since it was redrawn in 1993. Her seat comes up for challenge in 2020.