GLENS FALLS — Maya Vangelder of Porter Corners said she wants U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to urge President Donald Trump to release his income tax returns.

Vangelder, who attended the 21st Congressional District town hall forum at Crandall Public Library on Wednesday, said she is also worried that Congress will repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law without a replacement plan in place.

Vangelder, in an interview on her way into the forum, said she was not aware that Stefanik already has publicly called for Trump to release his tax returns, and that Stefanik has said there should be a three-year time frame for repealing the health care law so a replacement plan can be in place for a smooth transition.

“That’s good to know. She should keep pushing,” Vangelder said. “I would have thought she would have been here to clarify.”

A capacity, largely baby boomer crowd attended the forum that area residents organized.

“Our goal here is to make sure that our voices are heard and that we can create an environment where she feels she can meet with us without feeling ‘harassed,’” said Sarah Carpenter, one of the organizers, in opening remarks.

Stefanik was unable to attend because she was traveling on a congressional delegation trip for new members of the House Intelligence Committee that had been scheduled in early January, Tom Flanagin, the congresswoman’s spokesman, has said.

No one spoke up when organizers asked if anyone from Stefanik’s staff was in the audience Wednesday.

Library security monitored attendance and shut off access when attendance reached the 195-person capacity for the room.

About 100 additional people gathered for an overflow forum in the foyer.

Organizers also live-streamed the forum. They had video cameras in the community room and outside in the foyer, where people were invited to make two-minute statements with a moderator keeping time.

Henrietta Johnson of Keene Valley, the moderator, said speakers should be civil.

“As you speak, imagine that your own grandmother is listening and speak accordingly,” she said.

The first speaker, an older woman who did not identify herself, said Trump should be impeached because of a “mental disorder.”

Organizers distributed cards to the audience with “agree” printed on one side and “disagree” on the other side, and asked the audience to use the cards to react silently to speakers instead of applauding or booing.

Many in the audience raised the “agree” side when the woman called for Trump to be impeached.

Another speaker, later, urged Stefanik to advocate for Trump’s impeachment.

Other speakers voiced concerns about education, endangered species, the environment, health care and about campaign contributions Stefanik received from financier Paul Singer.

One speaker asked if Stefanik supports HR 610, proposed legislation to distribute federal education funds in the form of vouchers and to repeal nutrition standards for schools.

Another speaker asked if Stefanik supports HR 861, legislation to terminate the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Stefanik is not a co-sponsor of either bill, both of which have just three co-sponsors each, according to the Library of Congress government information website.

Organizers also distributed index cards for people to submit written questions.

“We will scan these index cards and make one document, and we will make sure every single question gets to Rep. Stefanik,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter asked for a show of hands of how many in the audience were residents of the 21st Congressional District, and everyone raised their hands.

“OK, who’s getting paid to be here?” she asked.

No one raised a hand, but there was a lot of laughter.

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Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at his All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.


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