Supporters, opponents eye Aug. 20 health care forum with Wexler; other congressmen uncertainby George Bennett | August 10th, 2009
U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, plans to attend the Aug. 20 event at 1 p.m. at the South County Civic Center west of Delray Beach. The event is sponsored by the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and supports the Democratic bill.
Other local members of Congress were invited but it wasn’t immediately clear today whether any others would attend.
Opponents of the legislation plan to show up as well.
“We’ll be there with signs but, more importantly, we’ll be there with questions,” said Everett Wilkinson, the state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots group.
Other health care meetings around the U.S. have been raucous affairs, but Florida Alliance President Tony Fransetta says he plans to ensure that the Aug. 20 meeting is orderly. He said audience members will have to submit questions in writing.
“I’m going to get with the Sheriff’s department. We’re not going to tolerate somebody coming in and disrupting the whole thing,” Fransetta said. “If somebody jumps up, screaming, in a disruptive manner, I’m going to make sure they’re escorted from the meeting.”
Wilkinson said his group doesn’t plan to be disruptive.
“We don’t encourage that. We’re trying to encourage discussion,” Wilkinson said.
In addition to Wexler, Fransetta said U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, is scheduled to attend. Klein’s office did not immediately confirm his participation.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, hasn’t determined whether he will attend, Hastings’ office said. U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, declined because of a scheduling conflict.