Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Look Back in Time: Nine-Year-Old Forcefully Removed from Town Hall Meeting after Question

Removed by security after asking question about mother
Patricia Hamel
August 27, 2009

Farrell, Pennsylvania- Though the debate over Health Care has been spirited in the last few months, the recent Town Hall meetings held by elected officials have been the focal point of attention. Yesterday, August 26, Pennsylvanian Congressman Jason Altmire (D) held one of his own in Farrell, a city with a population of just over 6,000, to boost support for the President's plan.

Though the Representative of the Fourth Congressional District expected the gathering to be heated, he did not believe the biggest uproar would come after a child's question.

The meeting, which began at 4:30 p.m., respectively, had nearly one thousand attend. Rep. Altmire began the meeting by assuring the crowd that he did not believe that the government would take over the health care system, but that reforms were needed. After several minutes of talking, the Representative then fielded questions from attendees.

The first to ask a question was Linda Patrick, a fourth grader at a local school. She held an index card in her hand, asking, "My mother has to get medicine that costs a lot of money. Our doctor says it will make her better, but my mother is afraid that with changes, the government won't pay for it. Can you tell me if it will?"

The question was met with applause from some in the audience, but silence from many others. Altmire responded by asking where the girl's mother was, to which Patrick answered "at home."
The Congressman then asked if her father was with her, but she simply shook her head. "I'm all by myself," she said.

"You mean that you don't have any parental supervision while you're here," Rep. Altmire questioned. "No," she responded. The Congressman then asked security to remove the girl, stating that "she should not be here alone, please take her away."

As security approached, Patrick hid in the crowd, asking, "What about my question?" "I will not answer questions from little children who are places they shouldn't be," Altmire responded.

After several minutes, officers were able to find the girl and reportedly brought her home. Afterwards, the meeting went ahead as scheduled.

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