Congressman Michael Grimm hosted an at-times heated town hall meeting Thursday to hear resident concerns about the national budget and other issues. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
For the second time in as many days a town hall for Congressman Michael Grimm got ugly. More than 300 people turned out Thursday night to voice their concerns about Grimm's vote to support a budget plan that calls for changes to medicare and senior healthcare. One woman even called Grimm a "grandma killer."
"One of the ladies here tonight said I 'want to kill grandma' that's the type of rhetoric that's destroying our country, ultimately, because it means you can't have an honest discussion," said Grimm. "If you can't discuss the problems you certainly can't solve them."
The national debt was the subject of the often rowdy meeting. Grimm's camp insisted people call ahead of time to reserve seats, and some complained that they weren't allowed inside. Some who did get a seat say they didn't walk away with much.
"He's proposing spending cuts of $4.3 billion at the same time giving a $4.2 billion tax cut. So I don't really understand that. He didn't really explain that," said Staten Island Resident Steve Lawton.
Grimm abandoned his plan to have a moderator field questions from the audience. Instead, he walked around the room asking questions himself.
"He was the dark horse that got in and now he has to prove to his constituents that he's worthy of his job. I guess these town hall meetings are the best way to get your message out to them," said Staten Island Resident George Okie.
While much of the town hall focused on national issues there were some who wanted to bring things a bit closer to home.
"We need a discussion on what he's going to do here. He doesn't go to Washington and just sit there and is oblivious here. There are people in his district that need help," said Patricia Willis of Staten Island For Change.
Grimm says he's planning several more town hall meetings, smaller ones, targeting specific communities. He says those will focus on the issues a little closer to home.